THE Nigerian Army has vowed to checkmate the nefarious activities of militants in the creeks of Akpabuyo and Bakassi local government areas of Cross River.
This is however coming barely three days after militants were alleged to have overrun the two local government areas and set up a parallel administration.
In a statement signed by Capt Kayode Owolabi, the Army Public Relations Officer of 13 Brigade Nigerian Army, Calabar and made available to the Tribune Online on Wednesday in Calabar restated its resolve to nip the activities of militants in the bud.
The statement also described as false and misleading claims that the two local government areas were under the control of militants.
According to the statement, “The attention of the Headquarters 13 Brigade Nigerian Army has been drawn to some national dailies reports that militant groups have taken over Akpabuyo and Bakassi local government areas in Cross River.
“We want to state that this story is baseless and has no iota of truth.
“This headquarters wishes to inform the general public that our troops are on ground in Bakassi to checkmate any militant activities.
“Let us categorically state that apart from some few criminal activities, which have been checked by our troops, Akpabuyo and Bakassi local government areas have been generally peaceful’’, the release stated.
The statement however urged members of the public not to panic but go about their lawful businesses as security operatives were combat ready to tackle the menace of crime in the state.
In the same vein, state Commissioner of Police, Mr Jimoh Ozi-Obeh, also dismissed the claims that militants have taken control of two local government areas in the state, adding that such reports should be disregarded.
Ozi-Obeh said that a team of policemen had been dispatched to both local government areas, maintaining that no militant group had taken over any territory in the state.
The Police Commissioner said the state government, in partnership with the police had beefed up security along the creeks of Akpabuyo and Bakassi.
“There is no militant group that is overrunning any part of Cross River. The joint security patrol in the state is always on alert to forestall any crisis.
“It is unethical for some people to go to press and say that Akpabuyo and Bakassi local government areas are under the control of militants,” he said.
Chairman of Akpabuyo local government area, Dr Patrick Ene-Okon, told newsmen that though there have been incidences of kidnapping and militancy in the area, but no militant group was overrunning the council or running any parallel government.
“We are working with fear because of the activities of these militants group and kidnappers. But they are not overrunning any part of Akpabuyo as reported in the media.
Also, Mrs Edisua Usang-Iso, Chairman of Bakassi local government area, said there was no cause for alarm, adding that the council area was peaceful as residents in the area were going about their lawful businesses.