Akwa Ibom State government recently announced the imposition of a curfew in two local governments of Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo. In making the announcement, the commissioner for information, Charles Udoh made reference to the level of insecurity in the two local governments as reasons for the action.
According to the commissioner, the curfew is to remain between the hours of 6pm and 7am daily. Apart from the curfew, the government had also announced the prohibition of the use of motorcycles in the two local governments, as well as in Ika and Ikot Ekpene local governments. The statement did not, however, say if human beings can still move on foot at night.
Be that as it may, it is instructive to note that the governor, the government and indeed the commissioner for information now realises that there are not just pockets of criminal activities in Etim Ekpo, for example. They seem to have realised that hoodlums may have seized power, literarily, in those local governments. This is a sharp contrast from the government's earlier position on the level of insecurity. The government needs to be commended for accepting the hard truth and taking steps to deal with the situation. It was wrong, really wrong, for the government to claim that the situation was not as serious as it was being reported.
With the imposition of curfew in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo, we are however doubtful of what the action will achieve. The reason is that most of the criminal attacks, kidnapping and killings are done in the afternoon-in broad day light that is.
Two weeks ago when the hoodlums stormed Etim Ekpo and undertook a parade towards Ukanafun, it was in the afternoon. They spent quite sometime at Anwa Uyo Junction in Ukanafun, shooting and demonstrating raw bravado, unchallenged. That was in the afternoon.
When the visited Ikot Udo Obobo last week to kidnap a widow, Madam Ime Udodung, it was in the afternoon. So, declaring a curfew that will last between dusk and dawn may not really solve the problem.
We still believe that one of the major solutions to the security hiccup is adequate funding of the security agencies. The security operatives themselves talked about this last week when they met at the office of the state commissioner of police. The soldiers that are kept at the security village in Ukanfun needs to be properly taken care of and their intelligence gathering machinery well oiled.
Secret police should be sufficiently deployed in the local governments to gather information about the whereabouts and operational activities of the hoodlums. Also, it will not be out of place to heed to the advice of Mr Emmanuel Enoidem, who recently suggested that the governor should not adopt non conventional approach in tackling the issue. The government needs to take the matter much more seriously.