For the first time in a very long while, Akwa Ibom State governor, Deacon Udom Emmanuel spoke on the lingering security crisis in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo local government area of the state. He was reported to have said that the young boys who have been terrorising the two local governments are sponsored.
He was also reported to have said that his government was tackling the issue headlong and that it would be over in no time. His declaration before journalists in Uyo created the impression that he, as the chief security officer of the state, was working hard to rid the state and indeed Ukanafun local government of those gunmen who have forced the villagers to flee their homes for months now.
There cannot be any gainsaying, the fact that the terrorists must have been sponsored. It is also not doubtful that as governor, he may be doing a few things in that direction, just like someone who is in possession of a candle stick in Uyo, aiming to assist a man in need of illumination in far away Onna, with his candle light.
It is either the governor is pretending or playing games with the people of Ukanafun or he is being economical with the truth on the real situation in that area, or both. Even a day old child should know that those small boys in Ukanafun could not afford the kind of guns they are wielding in the place. They could only have been able to acquire those weapons with the assistance of some highly placed individuals who can afford the cost.
So telling the world that Ukanafun terrorists are sponsored is akin to telling the nation that he is nursing a second term ambition. This is no news at all. What Udom would have told the world is that he knows the sponsors and that he has ordered their arrest. That would have made some sense.
The other declaration that would have made some sense is if Udom had announced that he had succeeded in getting soldiers to position themselves in strategic places in the local government, instead of placing them in a particular village, just because his friend hails from that village.
Our perception is that the governor is not decisive enough in the fight against militancy. It is trite, that the primary debt the governor owes every citizen is that of security of lives and property. If he cannot pay that debt, the governor cannot, in good conscience, claim to be working for the people of Ukanafun, or to even claim that he has them at heart.
There is no individual or group of persons, no matter who is sponsoring them, that are mightier and more powerful than the government. There is a common saying that after God in terms of power, it is the government. So, if Udom were willing, combating the criminals in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo would have been a done deal by now. He has the means and the resources. What is left is the political will to confront the sponsors squarely. And once that is done, the boys will melt and disappear.
A responsible government would seek to protect its people from the hands of terrorists, using all available means, instead of lame excuses that have never stopped kidnappings, arson, carnage, daylight murder and looting in Ukanafun villages.
We urge the governor to do the needful and smoke out all those who have murdered sleep in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo. If he cannot do this, it will be immoral for him to continue talking about re-election.