Akwa Ibom rejects anti-terrorism unit

Akwa Ibom rejects anti-terrorism unit

The Akwa Ibom State government has rejected the idea of setting up a police Anti-Terrorism Unit (ATU) in the state, describing the move as suspicious. The state government also alleged that setting up the unit was a political ploy by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to intimidate and harass opposition parties in the state.

In a statement, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Charles Udoh, said: “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 ATU in the state. Clearly, judging from all indices that precede the creation of such sensitive anti-crime units, creating an ATU in the state at this time is suspect. The question is, of what use is the unit in one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria?

“We are concerned that the setting up of the unit is part of the ground work and ploy of the opposition party in the state, the All Progressives Congress, 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 election approaches 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 ATU, sources said a former chief security officer to the former governor has been redeployed to Akwa Ibom, with tactical instructions on how to successfully execute the unholy agenda of the APC leadership in the state.
“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 ATU. It is the consensus of Nigerians that such sensitive section as the ATU be activated and logistically mobilised to effectively function in parts of Nigeria where insurgency is rife, especially in the northeastern region, where lives of innocent Nigerians are lost on a daily basis.

“The activities of members of the ATU will undoubtedly cause unwarranted tension among the peace-loving citizens and residents of the state. This is absolutely unnecessary at this point in time, especially if you take into account the comments of the G0C 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 administration.

“Only recently, the PDP vice presidential candidate, 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 ATU? 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 police, to ensure the safety of life and property at all times.”

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