By INYALI PETER, Calabar
AS part of its proactive approach to sustain the peace and security the state is known for, the Cross River State Government is to set up a homeland security outfit to complement the effort of the existing security agencies in the state. Governor Ben Ayade disclosed this while receiving the French Consul-General, Laurent Polonceaux and his entourage on a courtesy visit in his private residence in Calabar. He explained that the essence of the Homeland Security Service which will be entirely non-arm bearing outfit, will be a complete departure from the traditional methods of policing.
Governor Ayade said the envisaged Homeland Security which is expected to provide 3000 jobs for Cross Riverians will concentrate but not limited to providing intelligence, profiling of visitors coming into the state and out of the state, including carrying out services such as neighborhood watch and providing intelligent data and services to Police.
The governor who disclosed that the state will rely on the support of the government of France for technical and other logistics support for the security organization, said: “With the visit of the Consul-General of France in Nigeria and with the useful deliberation we have had, with regards to the security challenges facing the Niger Delta at this period, and looking at how Lafarge can do business much better in a less security tense atmosphere, it becomes imperative for us to create a security architecture that can protect Lafarge and extend other services to other citizens and visitors to Cross River.”
According to the governor, “Cross River has been the home of tourism, a signature and hallmark of hospitality and good lifestyle for all Africans, it is imperative we make it very safe.”
Ayade noted that “it was against this background that Cross River State Government, with technical partnership from the French government would be looking at the possibility of setting up a Cross River State Homeland Security service.
“The Homeland Security service is a complete departure from what is the tradition. It will, however, include but not limited to issues like providing intelligence, profiling of visitors coming in and out, providing intelligence services also, doing neigbourhood check, neigbourhood watch. It will also assist in furnishing the police and other security agencies with information on who comes in and out of the state by providing intelligence, data to police. It will be a non-arm bearing outfit with assistance from the French government support necessary to succeed.”
He also explained that the “homeland security service which will focus more on intelligence gathering in a digital nature, will require satellite technology which we expect to get some institutional approval from the federal government. It is our hope and strong conviction that this is the way to go in the face of the challenging tension we have in the Niger Delta.”
Governor Ayade further disclosed that an executive bill would be sent to the state House of Assembly for passage into a law.
Speaking earlier, the Consul-General of France in Nigeria, Laurent Polonceaux, who was accompanied on the visit by the Head of Lafarge Cement plant, Calabar, expressed gratitude to Governor Ben Ayade for the fruitful meeting and harped on the need for a more healthy and robust cooperation between his country and Cross River, especially on the area of doing business with Lafarge and water provision which his country is currently providing for Obubra and Okpoma.