Stakeholders on security drawn from the federal and state agencies yesterday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State deliberated on the security challenges facing the country ahead of the 2019 general elections and stressed the need for a holistic action plan to address the problem.
Governor Udom Emmanuel, guest of honour on the occasion, said the way out of the security challenges facing the country could be stemmed when the federal and state governments committed enough resources into addressing issues that give rise to insecurity.
The governor, who was represented by the secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, said Akwa Ibom government has invested so much cash and energy into addressing the issues of unemployment and other social malaise that gave rise to insecurity.
According to Emmanuel, “Since its creation in 1987, Akwa Ibom has under successive administrations, made tremendous efforts to ensure that the residents as well as their property are safe and secure.”
Although he recalled that there was a turbulent era in the life of the state, he declared that under the current administration, much has been done to address the questions of unemployment and food scarcity, noting such interventions have combined “to take the idle youths off the streets”.
To fully entrench lasting peace and stability in the state, Governor Emmanuel disclosed that his administration had banned over 33 cult groups and implemented amnesty programme for over 420 repentant militants, who were impressed upon the government to voluntarily lay down their arms in return for rehabilitation and empowerment.
“The passion demonstrated by the present administration in stemming the upsurge in insecurity such as militancy, cultism, assassinations and other violent crimes in the state, is unparalleled,” he stressed.
In the same vein, the federal government representative and permanent secretary in charge of Special Duties in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Dr Amina Shamaki, identified Boko Haram, herdsmen\farmers’ crises and other flashpoints as some of the challenges staring the upcoming elections in the face.
She enjoined the people to be security conscious at all times, even as she prevailed on security stakeholders and governments at all levels to see security as the single most important question that must be addressed going into the polls next year.
She warned against votes buying and selling during the exercise, pointing out that the very poor would be prone to such malpractices given the fact of lack of resources and other economic factors that could assist them to resist such overtures.
Governments, she pointed out, should be able to address the socio economic challenges of unemployment and food crises that combined to render the very poor vulnerable to easy bribe to sell their votes.
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