By Abasiofiok Inyang
In a bid to find lasting peace in their area and put to an end, killing, kidnapping, extortion, rape and other anti-social vices that have claimed many lives and forced people out of their homes, stakeholders in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo local government areas have called on perpetrators of criminal acts to lay down their arms, and give government the opportunity to look into their grievances they might have had.
They have also called on the State Government to look into the possibility of granting them clemency/amnesty to those who are willing to embrace the gesture, and as well advocate the establishment and funding of neigbourhood watch, training, equipping and improved funding of the Police and other security agencies.
The call was part of the communiqué issued at the end of security meeting held on Saturday at the Godswill Akpabio Conference Hall, Police Headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia.
The meeting which was attended by who is who in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo including traditional rulers, top public servants, political appointees, and youth leaders, had the stakeholders commending Governor Udom Emmanuel, the State Police Commissioner, Mr. Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi and other security agencies for their efforts made so far to restore peace and security in the two communities.
In a communiqué presented by Barr. Chris Okorie on behalf of the stakeholders, the called for establishment of joint patrol/crack teams with proper funding for effective operations, effective management of information and intelligence, grading and maintenance of roads within the two communities to make them motorable for the security operatives, special peace mission to be dispatch to the two local government areas, restriction of operations of the use of motor bike in the area between the hours of 7:00pm and 6:00pm, and separation of politics from the issue of security.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after the meeting, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP National Legal Adviser, Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem, commended the Police Commissioner for his initiative in ensuring that peace return to the two local government areas.
Barr. Enoidem who equally appealed to the perpetrators to lay down their arms, come out of the bush and declare their grievances, saying that there is no way that their grievances can be met without dialogue.
“I want these youths to lay down their arms, come out of the bush and speak their minds. Dialogue is the best thing to do to end these killings and atrocities,” he said.
Also speaking, the Etim Ekpo Council Chairman, Elder Udeme Eduo, noted that there is no alternative to peace. He expressed satisfaction on the outcome of the meeting saying that with the far-reaching decision made, there is no doubt that peace would soon return to the two communities.
The village head of Ikot Odongo in Etim Ekpo, Chief Ekon Nkereuwem Ekon said that as all the stakeholders in the two local government areas have agreed, peace would soon return.
Earlier in his address, the State Police Commissioner, Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi said that the meeting was convened to brainstorm and come up with ideas and solutions with a view of bringing lasting peace and security to the two communities.
The State Police boss attributed the current security challenge in the two local government areas to failure of the elites who have abdicated their responsibilities, and some politicians who recruit and arm the youths as foot soldiers for selfish ends. He said that the politicians put the youths in a state of hopelessness and destruction.”
He, however, expressed the hope that with the outcome of the meeting, peace will soon return to the two local government areas. He thanked the stakeholders for finding time to attend the meeting.
Our correspondent reports that some members of communiqué committee were – Barr. Chris Okorie, Barr. Idongesit Umoh, Prof. Ahaziah Umanah, Chief Uwem Jumbo, Amb Nkanang Nkanang, Pastor Mrs Victoria Uko.