Elders and stakeholders in Akwa Ibom have written a petition to the Inspector- General of Police (IGP), Mr. Ibrahim Idris, over the plan to set up an anti-terrorism unit at the state police command, Ikot Akpanabia, Uyo, the state capital.
The stakeholders led by the former national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Anietie Okon, in the petition tagged: “Akwa Ibom does not need anti-terrorism unit”, queried the rationale behind the establishment of such department in a state acclaimed to be largely peaceful in the last couple of years.
At a press conference held at the Correspondents’ Chapel yesterday, the elders frowned at the action, saying that it was targeted at making the forthcoming polls unacceptable.
The petition was endorsed by over 15 eminent indigenes of the state including Senators Emmanuel Ibok Essien, Effiong Bob and Anietie Okon, who described it as sinister, even as they sensed that it was a deliberate ploy to intimidate and hound PDP supporters in order to seize the state for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the centre.
They pointed out that “such plans to set up anti-terror unit in Akwa Ibom was akin to building bridges in the desert,” adding that it would be a total misnomer for the department to be launched in a peaceful state while the epicentre of terrorism remains largely in the Northeast, Middle Belt and even President Muhammadu Buhari’s Katsina State and the neigbouring Kaduna and Zamfara States.
The elders, who vowed to rally forces against such surreptitious plot, alleged that it was a well-orchestrated secret agenda of the APC to create imaginary state of insecurity in order to guide the electoral process to arrive at a predetermined outcome.
“We will resist and we are not going to be intimidated because they are very sure that under free, fair and transparent process, the APC cannot win Akwa Ibom,” Senator Okon said.
“Terrorism has become a global concern in recent times with dire implications on the socio-economic development of countries and regions. In the last decade, this monster has reared its ugly head predominantly in the Northeastern states, spreading to states like Zamfara and very recently in Katsina.
“It therefore behoves on every responsible government to defend the sovereignty and integrity of our borders, ensure safety of life and property while focusing on policies that promote internal security, food sufficiency and job creation.
“Recent security challenges in Zamfara and Katsina States had necessitated the call for help by the governors of those states to the security agencies to help forestall and curb the wildfire insurgency rapidly spreading across the states”, they added.
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