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Ayade unveils Operation Akpakwu to check kidnappings, makes case for Bakassi ex-militants

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Cross River State Governor, Benedict Ayade, has unveiled Operation Akpakwu to checkmate kidnapping and banditry in the state, and charged the Federal Government to include the Bakassi Strike Force (BSF) ex-militants in the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).

Inaugurating the outfit, which members were drawn from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Civil Defence, Governor Ayade gave out 100 patrol vans with communication gadgets, 10 power bikes and drones to enhance its operations.

Speaking at the ceremony yesterday, Ayade, who was accompanied by all service commanders in the state, lamented recent incidents of criminality, especially kidnapping, vowed to return the state to the peaceful haven it once was, even as statistics indicated that the state remained one of the safest in the country.

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He, therefore, cautioned criminals to relocate from Cross River, saying the state would henceforth be too hot for kidnappers and other criminal elements.

“The instruction is clear from Abuja, we must deal decisively with criminality, banditry, cultism and kidnapping. Let this, therefore, be a strong message to all Cross River people and non-indigenes alike that as far as they are resident in Cross River State, criminality has ended.

“Military officers and the police should comply with the obligations, instructions and orders of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces that Cross River State must be safe,” he stated.

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Ayade, who blamed the kidnappings and armed robberies in the state on strangers, cited police records of those arrested for crimes, insisting that going forward, all landlords would be made to account for their tenants as part of the regulations, which have been signed into law under the Homeland Security Act.

He also declared that with Operation Akpakwu, government would henceforth demolish any property belonging to or occupied by kidnappers and armed robbers.

On the Bakassi ex-militants, he decried the non-inclusion of the BSF in the PAP after they voluntarily surrendered their arms at the behest of the state and Federal governments.

“We urge the Federal Government to explain why the BSF has not been given proper restitution, rehabilitation and reintegration as has been done in other states. I plead that the BSF should be admitted into the PAP so that they can have their dues and be properly trained so that they can add value to society,” he added.

Speaking, the state Commissioner of Police (CP), Abdulkadir Jimoh, commended Governor Ayade for his proactive steps in crime fighting and pledged the security agencies’ commitment to keeping Cross River free from criminality.

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