Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom has extended an olive branch to militant youths orchestrating crises in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo axis of the state.
Emmanuel, who stated this at the council headquarters, Utu Etim Ekpo, called on the youths to sheathe their swords and come out for rehabilitation, stressing that his administration had no tolerance of violence and cultism-related clashes.
While presenting relief materials to the displaced persons in the affected communities, the governor called on sponsors of the gangsters to see the need for peace and normalcy in the area to forestall further bloodshed and destruction of properties.
He sympathised with the displaced persons over their plight, maintaining that crises do not allow development to thrive.
Governor Emmanuel also tasked parents to dialogue with their children and advise them to desist from violent crimes and embrace his amnesty.
He charged the coordinators to distribute the relief items to the affected communities.
He said as a father, he would not fold his hands and watch some criminal youths wreak havoc and bring sorrow to their families. He also called for restraint.
The state chief executive also visited one of the sites at Iwukem, Etim Ekpo, where he sympathised with the people over their losses and urged them to reach out to the youths for peace to prevail.
Earlier at a town hall meeting, the chairman, Etim Ekpo Local Government, Mr Udeme Eduo, expressed appreciation to the governor for his magnanimity and peaceful disposition towards the plight of the people of Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun who had been affected by the menace of cultism.
He said that the provision of succour to the affected persons attests to his pragmatic and fatherly disposition.
He prayed God to bless the governor and grant him success in the next elections.
Also speaking, the coordinator of Christian Association of Nigeria, Etim Ekpo, Rev Fr Martins Udofia, described the visit by the governor as timely and benevolent.
He proposed a solemn assembly in the area for divine solution to the fracas.
The member representing Ukanafun in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr Otobong Akpan, thanked the governor for his passion towards ensuring peace and harmony in the affected areas.
A political leader, Rt Hon Eno Akpan, thanked the governor for the visit and provisions given to the displaced persons and solicited for the provision of more police posts to boost the security architecture in the area.
Uduot Jack, who spoke for youths and Lady Magdalene Udom, who responded on behalf of women, expressed gratitude for the visit by the state chief executive and expressed hope that the youths would lay down arms and embrace the peace process.
The village head of Ikot Udo Abia, Chief Moses Jacob, gave a gloomy picture of their plight and appealed for more security presence in the hinterland.
Items that were distributed include, 10 truckloads of rice, beans, beverages, toiletries and garri.
A former governor, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, accompanied the governor on the visit along with some members of the state and national assemblies.
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