When in calabar do robbers begin to rob residents in broad day light? When do they become so bold and fearless to carry out their unholy activities on the ever busy road like Marian Road yet go unhurt?
This were some of the questions that came into my mind on hearing that some of the wine shops located almost directly opposite Mr Fans and Crunches, Value Mart Supermarket all in Marian were robbed recently.
With such an effrontery now exhibited by Armed Robbers today in Calabar and the Continuous Collapse of the security Machinery in the State, I won’t be surprised if residents begin to arm themselves with all manner of weapons in an apparent bid to protect themselves when confronted.
The situation is even worse in Calabar South where the ugly trend has forcefully brought Economic activities to a halt forcing some to relocate their businesses to somewhere safer.
Today in Calabar South, Residents of Atamunu, Ekpo Abasi, Uwanse, New Airport Road, Atakpa, Mount Zion and Orok Orok among others, live in perpetual fear. If it is not the fear of stray bullets or a case of mistaken identity as a result of the unending cult wars in the metropolis, it is the fear of hoodlums who will go as far as Killing their victims in order to dispossess them of their belongings.
It has become so bad that 8pm in the area can be mistaken for 11-12pm as not even a vehicular movement would be noticed in some of this areas when it is nightfall. How sad!
I agree in totality that, Governor Ben Ayade has done and is still doing his utmost best to justify the mandate freely given to him by Cross Riverians about one and a half years ago especially in the areas of regular and prompt payment of salaries to Civil Servants and some of the developmental projects he has so vigorously pursued, worthy of mention which is, the garment factory. But what is the joy in all of this successes, if a civil servant cannot peacefully enjoy his/her labour for fear of dispossession by men of the underworld or what is the essence of a garment factory when the state cannot guarantee the safety of potential investors?
Permit me, to give a few suggestions on how the government can reduce to the barest minimum the upsurge of crime in the state.
First, the governor must as a matter of urgency begin to summon a monthly security council meeting with Security Chiefs in the state. This was one of the major steps adopted by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State when the security situation in his state became worst. Such a meeting will afford the Governor to hear from the Security Chiefs, what their Strength and weaknesses are, while affording the council on the other hand an opportunity to take strategic decisions.
Secondly, without been told, it is very clear that one of the major problems faced by security Agencies is that of mobility. I say this as a result of my little investigations I have carried out. The security situation currently being faced in the state, is one that requires the acquisition of new security vans distributed to all the security Agencies in the state. This will enable them do their job better and will bring about quick response anytime a distress call is placed on them.
Thirdly, the resuscitation of Quick Intervention Service (QIS). It is on record that, the peace that was largely enjoyed in the state during the administration of the then Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, is traceable to the gallantry of the men and officers that made up Operation QIS. Reviving this security apparatus to man certain flash points in the area has become very necessary.
Fourthly, the State Security Adviser (SSA)must step up and be alive to his responsibilities. It is not enough to grant newspaper interviews to say ‘Calabar is Peaceful’ when every Tom, Dick and Harry knows it is not. He must deploy people to the field that will gather relevant information for him which will enable him do his job better.
The Governor’s aides especially those on social media,must desist from making payment of Civil Servants salaries by the government a public issue as that on its own, is a security breach since they hardly know who such information gets to.
Lastly, the Governor on his own, must lead the fight against cultism, Arm robbery and other security Vices from the front which entails taking decisive actions capable of sending fears even to his closest Aides. He must understand that if the current security situation persist, the tourism ministry where he overseas, will suffer greatly and the number one tourist destination the state prides itself will remain a sham.
The security of lives and properties remains the primary objectives of any government and that Governor Ben Ayade must provide and guarantee.
Richard Romanus is a public Affairs Commentator from Oderegha in Obubra LGA.