Thursday, 31 August 2017

Crime and Voilence rate reduced in Calabar because of Homeland Security - Emmanuel Ulayi

Emmanuel Ulayi|31 August 2017 

The Governor of Cross River State, Professor Senator Ben Ayade recently inaugurated the Cross River State Homeland Security Service.  Governor Ben Ayade, while receiving the French Consul-General, Laurent Polonceaux, and his entourage on a courtesy visit in his private residence in Calabar on July 8, 2016 disclosed that the move was necessary due to the serious threats by cultists and sundry criminals to security of Calabar and its environs. The setting up of the security body State Homeland Security is a proactive approach to sustain the peace and security the state is known for. Pursuant to this, the governor later last year signed the Bill establishing the outfit into law. 

Recruitment into the service was done in synergy with the Nigeria Police Force. The Service recruited the best as the least entry requirement is a Higher National Diploma. The Service is well equipped to enable it carry out its mandate of complementing the Federal Security Agencies in the state.
Calabar the capital of Cross River State in the Southern Nigeria is a city that needs no introduction. An ancient city that is reputed as the first place the British established a consulate in Nigeria, Calabar is well planned and is known as the cleanest city in this part of the world. The city is also renowned for peace and tranquility which combined with the above factors has made it the number one tourist destination in Nigeria.

But all the positive image of Calabar was almost shattered last year in an unprecedented wave of cult violence and other acts of inimical to what the city is known for.  The inauguration was made all the more timely as the annual Calabar Carnival which draws tourists from all over the world was fast approaching. Very few people were optimistic that the carnival would be hitch free.  

Apprehension was rife even as many already concluded that cult war would make the carnival unsafe. Not only the carnival was a source for concern, precious lives were being lost by the day while the security forces could not provide any clue to ending the carnage.  Inyang, a 400-level student of the University of Calabar relived his experience. "I live off campus. I remember the day one of our lecturers was killed by cultist. The following day I was caught in a gun battle between rival cult groups. Bullets were flying everywhere. It was only by the grace of God that I managed to get to safety."
Such was the state of things in the state until the introduction of the Homeland Security Service which according to the Governor "Is a complete departure from what is the tradition. It will, however, include but not limited to issues like providing intelligence, profiling of visitors coming in and out, doing neighborhood check, neighborhood watch. It will also assist in furnishing Police and other security agencies with information on who comes in and out of the state by providing intelligence data to Police. It will be non-arm bearing."

The Service did not only proved its mettle by contributing to the peaceful conduct of the carnival last year, it has continued to justify its pay by successfully fulfilling its mandate of assisting the Police in maintaining peace in the state. Cross Riverians now heave sigh of relive as they now sleep with both eyes closed as opposed to what obtained before the service was introduced. Mama T, (not her real name), is a trader in Calabar.  She unequivocally asserted that, "it was the effort of the Homeland Security Service that help end the violence in Calabar and its environs".  She was also thankful to God for a proactive governor like Professor Ayade. In her own words, "Governor Ayade has proved himself a problem solver.  In situations when others would be fidgeting, our governor has always been able to pinpoint the problem and proffer practical solutions".

The over 3000 youths employed by the service as well as their families are also thankful for the opportunity to serve and to be gainfully employed as many of them have been without work for years. This on its own is another good measure in combating social vices. These are now empowered to go to market and buy things they could not buy before. Money is circulating in cross River.  Businesses are booming in an atmosphere of peace. There is no apprehension of security breach in the coming Carnival.  All thanks to the Homeland security Service.

Emmanuel Ulayi
Writes from Calabar