As the 2019 general elections approach, Akwa Ibom Police Command has sent a stern warning to desperate politicians in the state: use suspected criminals whose names are in the police wanted list for elections and be prepared to face prosecution.
This may not be unconnected with information that some politicians in the state have enlisted the support of the wanted persons to be used as delegates or as agents to perpetrate violence during elections to win votes for their political parties.
Mr. Adeyemi Ogunjemilusi, Akwa Ibom Police Commissioner, who spoke this Thursday on Inspiration105.9 FM, Uyo, warned “Any politician who associates with or patronises those published in the wanted list for the 2019 general elections would be arrested and prosecuted.”
In June 2018, the command declared 59 persons from four local government areas in the state alleged to be ring leaders and sponsors of insecurity.
The wanted list consisted of 57 males and two males- 23 from Ukanafun, 23 from Etim Ekpo, 12 from Essien Udim and one from Oruk Anam.
Commenting on the Etim EKpo and Ukanafun crisis, the commissioner traced the genesis of the crisis to the time some youths in the areas joined secret cults- Vikings and Debam, saying that “They started fighting among themselves and this degenerated into militancy. It came to a time they lost focus and could not control the fight again such that every person became their targets.”’
Ogunjemilusi observed that the command together with the state government was doing everything possible to restore peace and normalcy in the troubled in the areas and thanked the governor for the support in terms of police vehicles and allowances to officers on patrol to the areas and other parts of the state.
“We are on a peace process. We have announced that the aggrieved youths from the two areas should surrender their arms and embrace peace. The exercise that started on September 22, this year has yielded great result. I am happy some of them have complied with the directive. Since the commencement of the exercise, more than 100 aggrieved youths have surrendered their arms.
“In short, we are doing disarmament. I hope by the time we round off the disarmament exercise in the next two weeks, all the affected youths would surrender their arms to pave way for peace in the areas. Akwa Ibom government is set for reconciliation. Government wants to train, reconcile and rehabilitate the aggrieved youths who lay down their arms. Government also wants to develop the affected communities. I appeal to the aggrieved to cooperate with us in restoring peace and normalcy to the areas,’’ he enjoined.
On the challenges facing the command, he identified haphazard but indiscriminate numbering of houses in the state capital which hinders police on duty from identifying the house of a victim while responding to a distress call and dearth of information on crimes by most members of the public.