Media practitioners under the aegis of Cross River State Journalists Forum (CROSSJOF) have raised the alarm over the increasing deterioration of security in the state, especially in Calabar, the state capital.

The journalists, in a communique after their monthly congress in Abuja on Saturday, called on the governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, to rise to the occasion by addressing the rampant cases of crime and criminality in the state.

They expressed the fear that if the situation is left unchecked ahead of the 2019 elections, it will mar political activities as well as continue to scare away investors.

“The level of criminality, cult activities across the state especially in Calabar calls for serious concern. We call on Governor Ben Ayade to live by his constitutional mandate of securing the lives and welfare of the people by reining in the criminals, cultists and their sponsors,” the communique read.

According to the communique signed by Comrade Gabriel Odu, chairman and David Odama, secretary, they observed that “Cross River state is known as the Peoples Paradise but unfortunately it is gradually becoming a den of cultists, robbers and all sorts of criminal elements, and this should not be allowed to persist.

“It is instructive to let the governor know that all his industrial efforts will amount to waste if the issue of security is not properly addressed as investors look for secure environment.”

The officials stressed that the level of brigandage in places like Boki, Obudu, Obanliku, Calabar South and some other areas was being fuelled by unscrupulous politicians, charging the security agencies to arrest the ugly development.

They also appealed to parents to caution their wards against cult activities, noting that they will die needlessly if they allow themselves to be used for political thuggery and crime.

Also, the forum urged Cross Riverians to be more circumspect about who they vote for, insisting that present political officeholders must give account of their stewardship as provided for in the constitution that the press will hold government and its officials accountable to the people.