As part of measures to stem the increasing spate of armed robbery in Cross River State, the Governor, Ben Ayade, on Saturday led security chiefs in a show of force across Calabar Metropolis.
Mr. Ayade went on the operation barely 24 hours after reading the Riot Act to criminals to leave the state.
The state Commissioner of Police, Ozi Obeh; Commander, 13 Brigade, A.B Biu; and the Commander, NNS Victory, Marcus Bobai, led their officers and men to the operation.
Armed robbers, cult gangs and sundry criminals have during the past one month terrorised residents of Calabar and its environs.
Briefing journalists shortly after the operation, the governor explained that the exercise was a deliberate measure to let criminals know that his team was in absolute control of the entire situation.
“We are out here to demonstrate that we are in absolute control and we are going to keep Calabar totally safe,” Mr. Ayade said.
“We have done a complete surveillance of all the possible routes, all the waterways through which these criminals escape.”
The governor said a ransom of N10 million would be paid to anybody with useful information on each of the wanted criminals, whose names would soon be published in newspapers.
“We know who they are. The security and intelligence report has shown clearly the people who are behind all these activities and I can assure the people of Cross River State that Calabar is indeed peaceful and they should go about their legitimate businesses,” the governor said.
Mr. Ayade said specific hideouts had been uncovered and access to water fronts would soon be cut off as security operatives begin on a door-to-door search of locations in Calabar Metropolis.
“I am sure with the number of combat vehicles and the armoury they (criminals) saw on display today, they would know that Cross River State is an action state and we can’t afford the agony of having any tension anymore,” Mr. Ayade said.
“As a fallout of our security meeting yesterday (Friday) and today, we will make adequate budgetary provision, reduce some of our spending while transferring some of the overheads to guarantee sufficient ammunition as well as other security and logistics support.”
Also speaking, the Cross River Commissioner of Police, Jimoh Ozi-Obeh assured that his men would continue to protect the lives and property of the citizenry.
“Those who have legal businesses should go about them peacefully, but those who have illegal businesses should run away, “Mr. Ozi-Obeh warned.
The state Security Adviser, Jude Ngaji, expressed government’s readiness to tackle the rising wave of crime, saying in a couple of days, the security challenge being experienced in the state would soon end.