Gov Eno Goes Tough As Kidnappers, Cultists Threaten Tourism, Investors

Gov Eno Goes Tough As Kidnappers, Cultists Threaten Tourism, Investors

Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Umo Eno, has read the riot act to security agencies over security breaches by kidnappers, cultists and other hoodlums.

 LEADERSHIP investigation showed that the activities of the criminals have scared tourists, visitors and investors from the state.

Worried by the menace, the governor, it was learnt, has issued Executive Order (EO) to demolish houses of known kidnappers, with plans to raise the recently inaugurated 550 – capacity local vigilantes known as Ibom Community Watch (ICW), to provide security intelligence across the 31 local government areas.

This is so because in the last couple of weeks, the state christened ‚The Land of Promise‘ has been raped and ripped open by daring criminals plodding the streets of Uyo and other LGAs with reckless abandon, especially Mkpat Enin, which has of late, became the epicentre of cults attacks.

Recently, cultists on prowl in the streets of Uyo, the state capital, wielding machetes, charms, locally-fabricated guns, and other small arms and light weapons, moved in groups from Eka Street to others, inflicting machete cuts on their perceived enemies and other soft targets.

No fewer than 30 persons who reportedly sustained varying degrees of injuries were hospitalised, according to a woman, whose shop was attacked and looted along Eka Street, Uyo.

About two months ago, a final year Computer Science student, identified as Daniel Okon, from Oron local government area, was fatally shot and killed at Idak Okpo Lane, Uyo, when armed hoodlums, according to Chief Effiong Akpan, a community leader in the area, invaded the community.

Several phones, laptops, cash and other personal belongings owned by students and the local residents, were carted away by the hoodlums.

Also, in the Uyo metropolis, a young lady was savagely killed with vital body parts taken away by suspected cultists, who later dumped the remaining body parts at the gate of The Boys School, Anua, in Uyo LGA.

At Udo Udoma Banking Layout, another woman was also killed and beheaded with her headless remains dumped in farmland close to the AKIRS office of the vast complex.

Regrettably, according to one Nse Abasi Ekanem, one of the vigilante officials at the layout, „ neither the conventional police, nor the local vigilantes recently inaugurated to maintain security across the 31 LGAs, could demonstrate strong will to tackle the scourge on the capital.”

He said: „To complement the regular security agencies in the state, Governor Umo Eno, had through the Commissioner for Internal Security and Waterways, Koko Essien, a retired Army General, launched a private security outfit with 550 trained youths, but regrettably, there is no sign that there‘s any holistic action plan to curb the menace.“

As anxiety spreads with the heightened activities of the hoodlums, it took the intervention of troops from the Nigerian Army (NA) at Ibagwa, in Abak local government area to move into the troubled area of Mkpat Enin LGA, to raze the homes of two suspected cult leaders who specialise in kidnapping unsuspecting members of the public for ransom.

„It was discovered that these criminals had abducted a businessman, a principal dealer in beer and other beverages at Ekparakwa junction in the neighbouring Oruk Anam LGA.

„In the process of negotiation, the businessman became unconscious because of heavy torture and was released, but suddenly he died of serious bodily wounds and internal bleeding, thereby forcing the military intervention,“ a local resident who preferred anonymity explained.

Amongst the homes razed, he added, belong to one Paulinus Cyril and another man, who are parents to the wanted leaders of the kidnap ring, that are also terrorizing the adjoining communities of Ekpuk, Nyaodiong, and Ndon Utim, in the neighbouring Etinan LGA.

A woman, who trades on mango and other fruits, from the villages to Uyo, was said to have been rescued by the troops, after being accosted for robbery by the hoodlums on motorcycles on Thursday morning, while the whereabouts of one Mr. Moses Eshiet, the Vice Principal, Community Secondary School (CSS), Nya – Odiong, from Etim Ekpo LGA, is yet to be ascertained after being ambushed by the gang.

The commissioner of police (CP), Waheed Ayilara, said he would leave no stone unturned in returning normalcy to the troubled areas.

He, therefore, appealed to the local residents to always volunteer intelligence to security agents on suspicious characters in their neighbourhoods for quick response to crimes in the affected areas.

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