TROUBLE: AKWA IBOM STATE GOVERNMENT REJECTS NIGERIAN POLICE ANTI-TERRORISM UNIT

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Based a on press release signed by Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information Charles Udoh and made available to AFN, Akwa Ibom State Government have rejected the siting of Police Anti-Terrorism Unit.

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It has come to the notice of Akwa Ibom State Government that the State Command of the Nigeria Police Force has concluded plans to set up an Anti-Terrorism Unit in the state. Clearly, judging from all indices that precede the creation of such sensitive anti-crime unit, creating an Anti-Terrorism Unit in Akwa Ibom at this time is suspect. The question is, of what use is an Anti-Terrorism Unit in one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria?

We are concerned that the setting up of the Anti-Terrorism Unit is part of the ground work and ploy of the opposition party in the State, the All Progressives Congress (APC), to illegally intimidate, harass and arrest government functionaries and the leadership of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the State.

As the 2019 general elections approach and political tempo assumes a crescendo pitch, a functional Anti-Terrorism Unit in the state, will certainly arrest and detain whosoever it wills, on trumped up charges of acts of terrorism. To buttress the sinister motive of the Anti-Terrorism Unit, sources say a former Chief Security Officer to former Governor Godswill Akpabio, has been redeployed to Akwa Ibom, with tactical instructions on how to successfully execute the unholy agenda of the APC leadership in the state.

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While acknowledging that the Force retains the right to create units as it deems necessary, Akwa Ibom State government frowns at attempts by the Police hierarchy to portray Akwa Ibom as a terrorist enclave in Nigeria, by its planned establishment of an Anti-Terrorism Unit. It is the consensus of Nigerians that such sensitive section as the Anti-Terrorism Unit be activated and logistically mobilized to effectively function in parts of Nigeria where insurgency is rife, especially in the North-Eastern region, where lives of innocent Nigerians are lost on a daily basis.

The activities of members of the Anti-Terrorism Unit will undoubtedly cause unwarranted tension among the peace-loving citizens and residents of Akwa Ibom State. This is absolutely unnecessary at this point in time especially if you take into account, the comments of the GoC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army; who during a visit to the state publicly described Akwa Ibom state as the most peaceful in the Niger Delta region. It is also on record that not too long ago, the Emir of Kano led a team of investors seeking investment opportunities to the state. The business interest of the revered Traditional Ruler in our state further underscores the importance of the peace, safety and security the current administration has engendered. Indeed, this has been a catalyst for the fast-paced development the state has witnessed since the inception of the Udom Emmanuel’s administration.

Only recently the PDP Vice Presidential Candidate, HE Peter Obi remarked that The Economist has listed Uyo as one of the fastest growing cities in Africa. It is also imperative to add that; today, the most common remark on the lips of every Akwa Ibomite about the security situation in the state is ” I can now sleep with my two eyes closed”. How can such a state need an Anti-Terrorism Unit? The plan is therefore suspect.

On this score, Akwa Ibom State Government requests that the State Police Command puts on hold, the plans to set up an Anti-Terrorism Unit in Akwa Ibom, as the present administration will continue its collaboration with all security agencies in the state, including the Nigeria Police, to ensure the safety of lives and property at all times.

Charles Udoh
Commissioner
Ministry of Information & Strategy

December 27, 2018

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