Akwa Ibom State government has rejected claims by the United Kingdom that the state was not secured, stressing that, the state was erroneously mentioned in the report.
This is contained in a statement issued and signed by the Secretary to the state government, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem and made available to journalists in Uyo on Monday.
The government said that such the misrepresentation must have been based on past reports where the Niger Delta region was seen as a restive area, noting that, such agitations has become history based on laudable intervention programmes by the government.
“We believe Akwa Ibom State was erroneously given a mention in them report based on the agitation for equitable distribution of God’s given resources by the youth of our Niger-Delta zone, which fortunately today, through several laudable government interventions programmes, has been significantly reduced,” Ekuwem said in the statement.
One of the largest American Oil and Gas companies, Exxonmobil operates peacefully in our State. The Niger Delta region today, is exceptionally peaceful which has seen other major International Oil Companies (IOC’s) operating in the region and achieving their OPEC production quotas.
“Even though reading from the detailed report, the mention of AkwamIbom State was at best tangential, we, however, wish to state that Akwa Ibom State remains one of the most peaceful, safe and secure States in Nigeria. This is an incontrovertible and unvarnished fact as attested to, by prominent and critical stakeholders in our nation’s security architecture and top business and traditional rulers.
According to the SSG, prominent Nigerians and foreigners alike, have described the state has most peaceful in the country, wondering what must have made the British government to see the state as a flashpoint.
“The General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarham during a courtesy call on the State Governor, His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel in October last year had commended the peaceful nature of the State and said Akwa Ibom State was the most peaceful and violence-free of all the areas under his command.
“A similar sentiment was also expressed by Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, the Commander of the Joint Task Force in the Niger-Delta region. The US Ambassador, W. Stuart Symington had visited Akwa Ibom State on two occasions within the last one and a half years. No Ambassador would visit a State that is considered unsafe.
“The Commissioner of Police in charge of the elections in Akwa Ibom State, Ibrahim Kaoje in his report of the elections to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of the Department of Operations stated that the elections in the State were conducted under the freest, credible and most peaceful atmosphere.
“The Emir of Kano, His Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi 11 during a courtesy visit to the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, also commended the peace and security citizens enjoy in the State, which has led the State to attract the second highest inflow of Foreign Direct Investments coming only behind Lagos State.
“We have also been receiving droves of investors from all parts of the world into the State for the purposes of investing in our peaceful, safe and secure environment. This would not have been possible if he state is not safe, peaceful and secure,” the statement said.
According to the statement, governor Udom in his zero tolerance to cultism has year signed into law, the anti-cultism bill, noting that, “former cultists in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo local government areas respectively which today has further engendered the peace, security and development the State has enjoyed in the past four years. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first ever Anti-Cultism law in Nigeria”, he added.
“Finally, we wish to state emphatically and unequivocally that Akwa Ibom State is peaceful, safe and secure and remains an inviting location for foreign investors, and other Nigerians who daily troop to the State to enjoy our famed cuisines and the hospitality of our people”.