A’Ibom Govt Writes UK High Commissioner, Faults Travel Alert

6

TRACKING >>The Akwa Ibom State Government has reacted to the recent UK travel ban on its citizens to 21 states including Akwa Ibom, noting that the state remains one of the most peaceful, safe and secure States in Nigeria.

In a letter signed by the Secretary to the State Government(SSG) Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem and addressed to the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, government said it is incontrovertible and unvarnished fact as attested to by prominent and critical stakeholders in our nation’s security architecture and top business men, that Akwa Ibom remains one of the most peaceful state in the country.

It can be recalled that the British government had warned its citizens not to travel to 21 states in Nigeria because of kidnappings, terrorism, militancy and diseases.

In a statement posted on its website and updated on Monday, June 17, 2019, the FCO said frequent attacks by terrorist sect Boko Haram in the restive northeastern region of Nigeria, raids by armed bandits in the northwest and north-central states, kidnappings across Nigeria, fatal diseases like Ebola and Lassa fever and militancy in the south-south, have made Nigeria a dangerous destination for the rest of the world.

Making allusion to statement by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarham during a courtesy call on the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel in October last year, the SSG said the GOC had commended the peaceful nature of the State and rated it as the most peaceful and violence-free of all the areas under his command.

” A similar sentiment was also expressed by Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, the Commander of the Joint Task Force in the Niger-Delta region. The US Ambassador, W. Stuart Symington had visited Akwa Ibom State on two occasions within the last one and a half years. No Ambassador would visit a State that is considered unsafe.

“During the recently concluded Presidential/National Assembly, Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections, in spite of the threat and boasts of the people on the opposite side of the political divide to unleash violence, the elections were adjudged peaceful, credible and free, a fact attested to by both Local and Foreign Observers. The Commissioner of Police in charge of the elections in Akwa Ibom State, Ibrahim Kaoje in his report of the elections to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of the Department of Operations stated that the elections in the State were conducted under the freest, credible and most peaceful atmosphere.

“The Emir of Kano, His Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi 11 during a courtesy visit to the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, also commended the peace and security citizens enjoy in the State, which has led the State to attract the second highest in-flow of Foreign Direct Investments coming only behind Lagos State. We have also been receiving droves of investors from all parts of the world into the State for the purposes of investing in our peaceful, safe and secure environment. This would not have been possible if the State is not safe, peaceful and secure.”

Read full statement below;

GOVERNMENT OF AKWA IBOM STATE OF NIGERIA
OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY TO THE STATE GOVERNMENT

Foreign and Commonwealth Office (United Kingdom)
C/O H.E. Catriona Laing
British High Commissioner in Nigeria
Plot 1137, Diplomatic Drive
Central Business District
Abuja, Nigeria

RE: RECENT PUBLICATION OF TRAVEL ALERT:
THE CASE OF AKWA IBOM STATE: THE UNVARNISHED TRUTH

We have read the recent publication by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the Government of the United Kingdom on Travel Alert for British Nationals concerning their visit to some part of Nigeria considered by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office as representing flashpoints of violence and insecurity.

While the release of Travel Alerts by Foreign Embassies or High Commissions is a routine act carried out by Foreign Governments as part of their sacred responsibility of securing the lives of their citizens, and of course, the protection of their overall national interest, we wish to point out a few unassailable facts as it concerns Akwa Ibom State, a peaceful, safe and secure State located in the oil producing geo-political zone of Niger-Delta which the report had fleetingly mentioned.

Even though reading from the detailed report, the mention of Akwa Ibom State was at best tangential, we however, wish to state that Akwa Ibom State remains one of the most peaceful, safe and secure States in Nigeria. This is an incontrovertible and unvarnished fact as attested to, by prominent and critical stakeholders in our nation’s security architecture and top business and traditional rulers.

The General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarham during a courtesy call on the State Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel in October last year, had commended the peaceful nature of the State and said Akwa Ibom State was the most peaceful and violence-free of all the areas under his command. A similar sentiment was also expressed by Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, the Commander of the Joint Task Force in the Niger-Delta region. The US Ambassador, W. Stuart Symington had visited Akwa Ibom State on two occasions within the last one and a half years. No Ambassador would visit a State that is considered unsafe.

During the recently concluded Presidential/National Assembly, Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections, in spite of the threat and boasts of the people on the opposite side of the political divide to unleash violence, the elections were adjudged peaceful, credible and free, a fact attested to by both Local and Foreign Observers. The Commissioner of Police in charge of the elections in Akwa Ibom State, Ibrahim Kaoje in his report of the elections to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of the Department of Operations stated that the elections in the State were conducted under the freest, credible and most peaceful atmosphere.

The Emir of Kano, His Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi 11 during a courtesy visit to the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, also commended the peace and security citizens enjoy in the State, which has led the State to attract the second highest in-flow of Foreign Direct Investments coming only behind Lagos State. We have also been receiving droves of investors from all parts of the world into the State for the purposes of investing in our peaceful, safe and secure environment. This would not have been possible if the State is not safe, peaceful and secure.

The State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has maintained a zero-tolerance policy on any form of criminal acts or tendencies. Last year, he signed into law, the ANTI-CULTISM BILL and granted Amnesty to former cultists in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo Local Government Areas respectively which today has further engendered the peace, security and development the State has enjoyed in the past four years. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first ever Anti-Cultism law in Nigeria.

We believe Akwa Ibom State was erroneously given a mention in the report based on the agitation for equitable distribution of God’s given resources by the youth of our Niger-Delta zone, which fortunately today, through several laudable government intervention programmes, has been significantly reduced. One of the largest American Oil and Gas companies, Exxonmobil operates peacefully in our State. The Niger Delta region today, is exceptionally peaceful which has seen other major International Oil Companies (IOC’s) operating in the region, and achieving their OPEC production quotas.

Finally, we wish to state emphatically and unequivocally that Akwa Ibom State is peaceful, safe and secure and remains an inviting location for foreign investors, and other Nigerians who daily troop to the State to enjoy our famed cuisines and the hospitality of our people.

Given the ease of traveling occasioned by the recent commencement of commercial flight operations by IBOM AIR, the only State owned and operated Airline in Nigeria and indeed, Africa, Akwa Ibom is to use the former American President, the late Ronald Regan’s famous line “a City (State) on the Hill” inviting, beguiling and ready for the world.

“We want to make Akwa Ibom State hot for criminals and as the saying goes, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen” Governor Udom Emmanuel had recently stated at a security event, and indeed, the criminals have heeded the advice, leading the State to enjoy its enviable reputation as one of the safest, secure and peaceful States in the country. This is an incontrovertible truth.

Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem
Secretary to the State Government

Cheap web hosting in Nigeria