Peace and development are the promoted themes of the times even when the reality speaks otherwise.
Every day, people across the world should call for others to join hands in advancing the lofty cause of peace and development of mankind and Cross River State and Cross Riverians is and are not left out.
It is true that a peaceful environment is indispensable for national, regional and even global development for without peace or political stability there would be no economic progress to speak of.
This has been fully proved by history and the present. In Cross River State today, the internal situation is, on the whole, moving relaxation to chaos, as conflicts and even local wars together with an increase in the spate of armed robbery attacks and gangsterism triggered by various factors have kept cropping up.
The tension these have generated still hovers around the state touted as the most peaceful and hospitable in Nigeria.
All these have impeded the economic development of the state and especially, the areas affected.
In 2016, over a dozen communal wars have been fought and on the month of April to be specific it was the people of Mkpani and Nko both in Yakurr Local Government of Central Cross River State.
The war which claimed several lives equally had the Nko – Mkpani axis of the Calabar – Ikom – Katsina Ala Federal Highway also blocked by gun wielding irate youths.
The above hindered road transportation, the live wire of a growing economy as tourist and other travelers could not get to their destinations.
Also, the gangster wars across the state have claimed no fewer than 30 lives (figures are from stories reported by CrossRiverWatch) between March to November in 2016. This figure could just not be up to half of the actual figure.
From mid November to December, the robbery rates across the state are on the increase as people in Obudu local government area are afraid to sleep at home.
The robbery attacks which so far, have claimed two lives have also left many beaten and injured. I hope that we all today will join hands with all other peace-loving people and work for lasting peace and common development and prosperity of our state.
As CrossRiverWatch news editor, Jonathan Ugbal puts it; “The security concerns of Cross River State makes it a microcosm of the Nigerian situation where we wholeheartedly deceive ourselves that we are united in diversity when the stark reality is a situation fueled by ethno-religious sentiments that we have allowed creep into the fabric of our socio-cultural, socio-political and socio-economic life and even when the elites speak otherwise, diplomatically in public, they continue fueling these sentiments in the dark to remain at the helm and buffet unlimitedly, on our commonwealth a la carte”.
Ikwen Atuaka is CrossRiverWatch Correspondent and writes from Obudu.