By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
The Cross River State Government on Tuesday donated operational vehicles to the 13 Amphibious Brigade of the Nigeria Army in Calabar in a bid to sustain efforts to combat criminality and other security challenges which have bedeviled the state once touted as the most peaceful.
The Governor, Senator Ben Ayade who choosed to present the vehicle at the Thai Africa Rice project where he has spent more than 3 hours everyday since the turn of the year commended the Army for rising up to the occasion several times it was needed and pointed out that no state was ever truly crime free.
“In recent times Cross River State has been bedeviled with several inter communal clashes and the Army had always risen to the occasion to support the Nigeria Police in restoring peace to the troubled communities which is why we need to enhance their capacity to enable them work effectively.
“There is no state that is absolutely crime free, you will always find pockets of crime here and there and when it becomes unbearable to the police, the army is always there to intervene and support them,” Ayade said and promised to assist with more of such supports to security operatives in the state to keep the state safe.
Ayade said despite the state being a tourist destination, sometimes a show of force was needed to reassure tourists and investors. He said the gesture was a demonstration of his passion to ensure a peaceful Cross River which is why the state had to cough out money despite lean resources to purchase the vehicles while the Army remodeled them to their taste.
The Governor said he was impressed with the efforts of the commander, Brigadier General Abdulmalik Biu whom he described as “One commander that has so much agility, capacity, energy to tackle the security issues in this state, because he understands the terrain, knows the maritime line perfectly well and has so far lived up to expectation, knowing that we are a boarder state and I must commend him for that.”
Receiving the vehicles, Brigadier General Biu lauded the state government for the gesture and assured the governor that the Army will not relent in its statutory responsibility of ensuring that the nation’s territorial boundaries are kept safe and habitable by citizenry.
Biu who described his brigade as “Oliver Twist”, maintained that the donation will go a long way in ensuring effective and efficient operation in the state while calling on members of the public to take security seriously by always ensuring that useful information is given to operatives promptly for immediate action.
Calabar, the state capital has been on fire in recent weeks with gang wars leading to the death of no fewer than 20 people in 2 months.