The Akwa Ibom State Government has faulted the UK government for the travel ban issued on its citizens tagging the state along with 20 others in Nigeria as unsafe in Nigeria.
In a letter signed by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, the state government stressed that Akwa Ibom remains one of the most peaceful, safe and secure States in Nigeria.
The letter addressed to the British High Commissioner in Nigeria, said it was incontrovertible and unvarnished fact that Akwa Ibom is one of the most peaceful states in the country.
Recently, the UK government had warned its citizens not to travel to 21 states in Nigeria because of kidnappings, terrorism, militancy, and diseases.
In a statement posted on its website and updated on June 17, 2019, the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said frequent attacks by the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, in the restive north-eastern region of Nigeria, raids by armed bandits in the northwest and north-central states, kidnappings across Nigeria, fatal diseases like Ebola and Lassa fever and militancy in the south-south, have made Nigeria a dangerous destination for the rest of the world.
Alluding to a statement by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Jamil Sarham, during a courtesy call on Governor Udom Emmanuel in October last year, the SSG said the GOC had commended the peaceful nature of the State and rated it as the most peaceful and violence-free of all the areas under his command.
“A similar sentiment was also expressed by Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, the Commander of the Joint Task Force in the Niger-Delta region. The US Ambassador, W. Stuart Symington had visited Akwa Ibom State on two occasions within the last one and a half years. No Ambassador would visit a State that is considered unsafe.
“During the recently concluded Presidential/National Assembly, Gubernatorial and House of Assembly elections, in spite of the threat and boasts of the people on the opposite side of the political divide to unleash violence, the elections were adjudged peaceful, credible and free.
“The Commissioner of Police in charge of the elections in Akwa Ibom State, Ibrahim Kaoje in his report of the elections to the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of the Department of Operations stated that the elections in the State were conducted under the freest, credible and most peaceful atmosphere.
“The Emir of Kano, His Highness, Muhammadu Sanusi 11 during a courtesy visit to the State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, also commended the peace and security citizens enjoy in the State,” it said.
The SSG in the letter said that the state had been receiving droves of investors from all parts of the world into the State for the purposes of investing their ‘peaceful, safe and secure environment.
The SSG stressed that all the above would not have been possible if the State is not safe, peaceful and secure.
“Finally, we wish to state emphatically and unequivocally that Akwa Ibom State is peaceful, safe and secure and remains an inviting location for foreign investors, and other Nigerians who daily troop to the State to enjoy our famed cuisines and the hospitality of our people,” it read.