Former Minister for Culture, Tourism and Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, has assured Ibo Community resident in Cross River State of the safety of their lives, businesses and property if he wins and sworn in as Governor of the state in 2019.
Duke gave the assurance while reacting to the concerns raised by some leaders of Igbo community resident in the state when they paid him a visit at the Mirage Hotel Calabar on Friday.
He said: “The time has come when all Igbo business men resident in the state are to be given maximum protection so as to put an end to the incessant kidnapping of Igbo’s residing in Calabar and beyond.
“Your contributions are immeasurable. And I as a business man and a past president of the Calabar Chambers of Commerce industries Mines and Agriculture, I understand and recognized the challenges that you face in your business.
“I want you to know that there is an aspirant that has your interest at heart. An interest that will secure your business, an interest that will secure your safety, an interest that will ensure that your children grow within this environment and become shining example to others.
“As a people who have been making tremendous contributions towards the economic advancement of Cross River, I will do everything within the ambit of the law to ensure that life and property of Igbo’s is given maximum protection and attention,” he assured.
The former minister who is aspiring to occupy the office of Governor the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) said he sees everyone living in the state as an indigene and therefore must be protected.
Duke urged the people to begin to see themselves as part of the state instead of seeing themselves as strangers and stressed on the need for the Igbo people to be part of the polity of the day.
“You must start from now and see yourself as part of people of the state and not strangers elements. You must also be an ambassador of not only the Ibo people but of the Cross River State at large.
“Don not see yourself ever again as non-indigenes, never again from this moment will you see yourself again as non-indigenes as pronounced by me High Chief Edem Duke. You are resident indigenes of the state of Calabar and Cross River State because many of you were born and brought up here.
“Today it is my belief that the business environment of our state needs to be remodified. It needs to be re-engineered. People who know business, people who are known business must come into business in order to use the enablement of government to support business people.
Earlier, Leader of the delegation of Ibo Community resident in Calabar, Chief Chris Nonso, raised the alarm over the high rate of kidnap of their kinsmen, and wonder why the Igbos had become a target of kidnapping called on the Gov. Ben Ayade’s led administration to rise up to the challenge and rescue the Igbos otherwise they are prepared to relocate to other states for safety.
Nonso stated that over hundreds of their kinsmen had been kidnapped and made to pay a huge ransom.
He said: “Some of our businesses are almost on the verge of collapse, a situation which has forced some of our brothers to relocate to states which ordinarily they won’t want to live.
“We know that politicians hardly keep to whatever promises made but for the fact that we have known you in the last 21years ago and haven’t find you wanting we take you by your words,” he stated.