By: Emmanuel Ulayi.
As part of efforts to ensure security of lives and properties and to promote peace across the state, the Cross River State government has entered into partnership with the European Union and Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS).
Making this known during an Amnesty summit in the State, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Amnesty and Rehabilitation, Mr Austin Ibok said the program is basically put in place to strengthen peace and harmony amongst the citizenry.
He disclosed that the summit is to have a stakeholders’ engagement with all traditional rulers, non actors, heads of group who are incharge of arms and also make sure that there is going to be an alternative source of livelihood that is going to be granted to anyone that is ready to lay his or her weapons.
According to Ibok “we are actually aware that there are lot of problems in terms of armed robbery, kidnapping, and different level of crimes. This is as a result of non employment. We have put in place mechanisms, and the EU, the ECOWAS have already made the funds available.
“Most of our youths who have been out of school for a while do not have jobs or means of livelihoods, so they now resolve in going into different level of crime for survival.
“This organisation believes it is very important to offer those in possession of arms an alternative livelihood and by doing this you’ll get to find out that there’ll be peace in our dear state when those who are involved in crime surrender their weapons and embrace the alternative means of livelihood”.
Mr Ibok also disclosed that “the basic mechanism put in place is by having this engagement. There will be a one on one engagement with the people, and we will also pick those willing to drop their arms for an alternative livelihood and then proceed with a biometric capturing. After which we shall ask them what handiworks they are willing to do.”
Also, while addressing Journalists, the State Security Adviser, Chief Ani Esin, thanked the federal government and all partners, adding that it will reduce the number of light weapons that have infiltrated the State.
“Cross River as a state will encourage and support this program especially where this weapons are domiciled. We will sensitize the people on why it is necessary to drop their weapons for an alternative means of livelihood.
“We will continue to other stakeholders on the EU/ECOWAS small arms project which is about civilian disarmament and the provision of alternative livelihood for those being disarmed in the community”, ” he said.