As security operatives commenced intensive house to house search for looted public and private properties within Calabar metropolis, suspected hoodlums have started dumping items into waste bins and various hiding locations around the city.
This is coming barely few hours after the Commissioner of police, Abdulkadir Jimoh announced a 24 hours grace for looters to return such items or face the full wrath of the law.
Recall that hoodlums at the weekend wreaked havoc in the capital city of Calabar in the guise of EndDARS protest, thereby looting and destroying COVID-19 palliative and State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, warehouses, some government institutions, politicians’ houses and private business premises were equally looted and destroyed in the process.
This led to imposition of dusk-to-dusk curfew and subsequent takeover of major streets and roads by stern-looking military officers just as they have carfoned off streets linking Calabar South with Calabar Municipality. Findings by Vanguard showed that youths at Mbukpa, Edibedibe, in Calabar South and Eta Agbor, Ikot Effa and Asari Iso in Calabar Municipality have taken the lead by dropping the items either on the road or into waste bins.
At Mbukpa market, items looted from Infectious Disease Hospital, IDH, were said to have been dumped beside the waste bins there, while at Edibedibe some electronics and chairs are said to be dumped on the roadside. At Ikot Effa, along Parliamentary axis, some youths have hurriedly dropped the stolen items including TV sets, generating sets, some beddings and mattresses at road side.
At Asari Iso, the community people took the lead by employing a town crier who spoke in Efik language, calling on all those who participated in looting the house of Sen. Gershom Bassey and other state and private property to immediately return them. The town crier, who moved round as early as 5:00am today, said: “All those who looted the properties of Sen. Gershom Bassey should drop it on the road, this is the order of the community.”
An eye-witness, Imaobong Solomon , said: “At Ikot Effa and Asari Iso, the youths in the areas have started panicking as soldiers have been patrolling the area.They are also afraid of community wrath, so they have to drop them on the roads.
“Some of them have gone into hiding for fear of arrest just as some of them have dropped stolen items on roadsides so that security people can pick it up.”
At Anantigha and Mbukpa, a resident at Jebbs Street in Calabar South, Akparawa Akpan, said soldiers are combing some flash points looking for the hoodlums since morning. He said: “We commend Governor Ben Ayade for taking these drastic measures to restore sanity in the state. These hoodlums were almost taking over our Ancient City of Calabar and have destroyed our common heritage.
“But we are happy that the military are everywhere and they should be allowed to take charge, especially in Calabar South, which us the base of miscreants.”
Meanwhile, the Senior Special Assistant on Non-Indigens Affairs ( Igbo) to Governor Ayade, Ugoji Nwabueze, Esq, has advised Igbo businessmen in Cross River to be careful not to buy or aid the transportation of the looted /stolen items as the looters may by now be desperately looking for buyers.
Condemning in totality the level of destruction and looting, Nwabueze said: “l call on Igbo resident in all parts of the state to resist the temptation of buying any item from an unknown source even at cheaper rate.