By Jonathan Ugbal
The Cross River State Government Wednesday disclosed plans to set up a Herdsmen Management Committee to tackle the rising incidents of herdsmen attacks in the state and foster peace.
“We have concluded arrangement to set up herdsmen management committee to among other things foster healthier relationship between herdsmen and host communities,” the state director of the Department of State Services, Fubara Duke said in a press briefing shortly after a state security council meeting presided over by Governor Ben Ayade.
“The governor has assured that the state will not banish any herdsmen from coming to do business in the state but will always encourage them to go about their lawful business at any part of the state,” Fubara said and dismissed media reports about herdsmen killings in the state.
“Let me assure that His Excellency and the entire security council took serious exception to some stories that made headlines in some sections of the media in the country about the carnage. It was untrue and we use this medium to admonish journalists to always verify their facts by calling on any of the service commanders for briefs before going to press.
“His Excellency made it clear that Cross River State was not a hostile state, and urged visitors who are visiting the state for all forms of businesses to go about such legitimate affairs without any form harassment or attack on the citizenry,” Duke said.
The council also made resolutions on inter communal clashes and gangstarism with Fubara disclosing several measures to be taken by the state.
“(The) state council has resolved to place a robust mechanism that will enhance collaboration with the various stakeholders to permanently address issues.
“Though the problems are not ones we have on a sustainable level, but we are not taking chances as council has deployed adequate men to all the flashpoints and I can assure you that the situation is now under containment.
“We have been charged by His Excellency to develop a workable template that will help bring the development to a minimal and manageable level such that will allow the citizenry go about their daily businesses without fear of molestation.
“We are more than ever committed at ensuring that the state remains a safe haven for business and leisure, and we urge the citizenry not to relent in their own role by supporting the securities with useful information to retain its status as the safest state and preferred destination in Nigeria,” Duke said.
The meeting was attended by the Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu, State Security Adviser, Mr Jude Ngaji, and commanders of military and para-military outfits in the state.
In a related development, CrossRiverWatch findings have revealed that residents in Obio Usiere community in Odukpani local government area have fled following sustained attacks by herdsmen after the killing of 60 year old Etim Okon a few days ago.
A delegation led by businessman Asuquo Ekpenyong visited the community on Monday and met residents packing their belongings and deserting the community after an attack the previous day had left another dead with four more still missing.
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