Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River on Thursday launched a special operation, code-named Operation Akpakwu, to flush out criminals, especially kidnappers, from the state.
The security programme has an outfit, whose personnel is drawn from the Nigerian Army, the Nigerian Navy, The Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps.
To enhance the operations of the security outfit, the governor handed over 100 patrol vehicles fitted with cutting edge communication gadgets, 10 power bikes and drones to it.
Speaking at the event in Calabar, Ayade vowed to restore peace and tranquillity to the state and Calabar in particular.
He said that although current statistics indicated that Cross River remained one of the safest states in the country, recent criminal incidents, particularly kidnappings, were alarming.
The governor, therefore, warned criminals in the state to relocate elsewhere immediately, stressed that the state would no longer be a haven for any criminal.
He vowed that the state would henceforth become too hot for kidnappers and other criminals, adding that those caught would face the full wrath of the law.
“Cross River statistically remains the safest state in Nigeria. However, as a state, we are used to the culture of zero kidnapping, zero cultism and zero robbery.
“In recent past, there has been an increase in the number of crime within the Niger Delta area and the country as a whole.
“This arises from the difficulty orchestrated by #EndSARS protest as well as COVID-19 pandemic, which brought general poverty and hardship on the entire world.
“The instruction is very clear from Abuja: you must deal decisively with any form of criminality, banditry, cultism and kidnapping of any form.
“Let this, therefore, be a strong message to every resident in Cross River, today is the end of any form of criminality,” he said.
Ayade blamed the spate of kidnappings and robberies in the state on outsiders, citing police records of those so far arrested in the state for crimes.
Besides, the governor said that it was now mandatory for every landlord to account for every tenant in the state, as part of the regulations which he had enacted under the Homeland Security laws.
The Commissioner of Police in Cross River, Mr Abdulkadir Jimoh, who spoke on behalf of the head security agencies in the state, commended Ayade for his proactive crime-control measures.
He pledged the commitment of security agencies to keeping the state safe and free from criminals.