Saturday, 9 July 2016

Anxiety Grips Calabar Residents As kidnapping, Armed Robbery Escalate; N250m Ransom Paid To Free Kidnapped Expatriates

The Guardian Newspaper reports that palpable anxiety and fear have gripped residents of Calabar, the Cross River State capital sequel to escalation of kidnapping, robbery and other criminal activities.
As a result of the heightened insecurity and criminal activities, scared investors and business operatives are said to close shops early while some others plan to relocate from the State.

A while ago, despite the heavy police presence dare-devil armed robbers struck along Ndidem Usang Iso Road in the afternoon leaving many people scampering for safety. Many shops like Southern Fries, a kiddies shop including a commercial bank were robbed.

The Ibom Layout axis of Ndidem Iso Road in the Cross River state capital was also under siege on Tuesday and Wednesday, as shops there were under siege by robbers.

Same Wednesday, a well known third Republic senator, Patrick Ani, was kidnapped barely 16 days after five Expatriates and two Nigerians were kidnapped by suspected militants, along Idundu Bridge on June 22.
The Kidnapped expatriates and their Nigerian counterparts were freed on June 26 after a N250m ransom was allegedly paid. Top sources close to UNICEM, a subsidiary of Lafarge told The Guardian that, “the sum of N250m was paid to secure their release and both UNICEM and MacMahon, the Australian firm working for the later raised the money.”

Prior to the aforementioned two kidnappings, building materials dealers in Calabar, in the early part of the year, lived in fear after seven of their colleagues were reportedly kidnapped within a space of two weeks and forced to pay large sums of money as ransom before they were freed by their abductors. 

The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRP) in Cross River state, Irere Ugbo, said the police has always worked hard to make sure the state remains safe.

“As at now, the state police commissioner has put in place strategies, one of which is the day-to-day patrol to make sure that the state is safe. So be rest assured that by the special grace of God we are working keeping the city safe.”

In the light of this, the Cross River State police command is maintaining routine patrol in various parts of Calabar metropolis and surrounding areas in order to improve security and assure residents of their safety.