Cross River State Governor, Senator Bassey Otu, has read the riot act to criminal elements in the state, saying, enough is enough.
Otu also directed law enforcement agents to arrest and prosecute all criminal elements in line with extant laws of the state.
The governor gave the directive at the swearing-in of new commissioners in Calabar, the state capital.
A statement by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr. Emmanuel Ogbeche, said Otu’s remarks were part of his deliberate effort to arrest the spate of incessant kidnapping and other forms of criminality in the state.
According to the statement, the governor also announced a reward for any useful information that could stem the tide of criminality in the state and bring to book perpetrators of the heinous crimes.
“Let’s take responsibility for the security of our dear state because these people are not foreigners but those around us. We are going to put a fee on whistleblowing. Anybody you suspect in your neighborhood, please pass on the information and you will be protected.
“Heads of security formations have been directed to employ all resources at their disposal to ensure that this menace is stopped forthwith, and all hostages freed and reunited with their families,” he said.
Otu, who was visibly angry by the spate of insecurity said, “I am particularly concerned about the high incidence of kidnapping, adoption and other criminal acts committed for the purposes of collecting ransom, including actions that prevent people from going about their legitimate businesses.
“It is rather sad to note that instead of keying into the new administration’s development strategy in a way of amnesty, few criminal elements have resorted to making income while holding a gun on our heads.
“In their quest for illicit wealth, they have resorted to kidnapping and crimes that are alien to our culture and people. I must say that the said negative actions show no love, sympathy or respect for human lives.
“They have suddenly made our once peaceful state to become a pariah for tourists, investors and even the ordinary people. We must put an end to this inhuman treatment by criminal elements.”
Otu affirmed that the security architecture of the state is now better positioned and will henceforth be ruthless with criminal elements in a bid to reclaim the age-long peaceful state.”
Speaking on the state’s extant law on kidnapping, Otu noted that “We are committed to operating within the ambit of the Cross River State Kidnapping Prohibition Law of 2016, which prescribes, amongst other punishments, death by hanging without any option for kidnappers and 20 years imprisonment for attempt to kidnap or abduct.
“My administration is ready to enforce the said law to the latter in order to bring criminal activities to an end.
“Let me state very unequivocally that enough is enough. This must stop, not tomorrow but today.
“We have tolerated this nonsense about insecurity enough. We are working tirelessly to make sure that even though times are hard, we have discussed with labour, NGOs and other stakeholders on how to get palliatives in order to alleviate the sufferings occasioned by subsidy removal.”
He used the forum to state that arrangements are in place to reach out to all and sundry irrespective of their political affiliations.
“While waiting for the days of economic boom, please do not allow this little period of sacrifice to push you into criminality,” Otu warned