Negotiator for peace for repentant militants in Akwa Ibom State, Ekong Udom, has identified high level of illiteracy as the major cause of insecurity and other forms of criminalities, including armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism and rape, noting that 90 per cent of the 402 hoodlums dropped out of basic schools to be on the other side of the law.
Udom, who spoke in an interview in Uyo, the state capital, blamed government for paying lip service to educational development.
“The state government is not taking the quality of education of its citizens as a priority. This is the reason some of the school dropouts are dabbling into crimes to assert themselves and to eke out a living.
‘’Out of 402 repentant militants from Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun local government areas, 99 per cent are primary school dropouts. In any event that requires writing of names, the militants will ask the literates to always write their names and do the documentation for them. They can neither write nor spell their names.
“To curb militancy in the state, I think it is worthwhile for the government to come out with a roadmap on education by reviving sound and qualitative education for all. This will help to break the chain of mental poverty among the people to think positively among themselves and for the betterment of the society,” he explained. .
Meanwhile, Ukanafun repentant youths have given assurances that peace would be sustained through partnership with the law enforcement agencies in tackling insecurity in the area.
The youths, in their hundreds from Ukanafun and environs, while on the ‘Peace Sustainability’ agenda, gave the assurance at Idung Nneke, Ukanafun.
“We will never fight again nor accept any form of sponsorship by any politician or group of persons whose personal interest intends to ruin the already existing peace in Ukanafun. We lost many of our friends and loved ones. We have realised that it is our responsibility to protect what we have.
“If you destroy a breakable plate, don’t forget that there is still another meal session,” Emem Emmanson, one of the leaders, said..
An ex-militant leader, Comrade Ubong Jonah, thanked the Department of State Services (DSS) for keeping close monitoring of the meeting.
He also thanked Ekong Udom, a community evangelist, for relocating to live in Ukanafun among the youths to ensure that they do not deviate from the peace mission.
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