Taming The New Crime Waves In Akwa Ibom
It was 11pm last Sunday that I received a call from a number I was familiar with and quickly picked it. But the caller wasn’t the owner of the number. The voice behind the call said the owner of the phone was rescued from a ghastly accident and was at the intensive unit of the teaching hospital. He further said he needed urgent attention of doctors and that he was the lead doctor attending to him. He gave his name as Dr. Charles and requested that since it was late for me to rush to the hospital, he would come with his driver, get some money from me to facilitate the treatment of the patient. He asked for my address.
I was worried, especially at that hour of the night. I put a call across to a few friends of the supposed accident victim and all said it was difficult reaching him to ascertain the veracity of the message just received.
Of course, common sense told me it was not normal for a doctor to leave his hospital in search of money for his patient’s bill. In the morning, further efforts revealed that the caller was a member of an armed robbery gang that had robbed the phone owner previous night and was calling several persons whose numbers he found in the phone. Imagine that I were ignorant enough to give out my contact address, that night hell would have let loose in my abode.
A prominent church leader’s WhatsApp number was hacked last week, hackers use it to send supple messages, requesting transfer of money into an account posted in the message, with a promise to refund as soon as possible. As I received the message, my response was: this clergyman is too reputable to request for just 50,000 naira. It was clear, fraudulent hands were at work. Several of such messages from hacked WhatsApp numbers of reputable people make the rounds throughout the week. Faceless others will lift accident pictures of people and solicit for various donations.
Other crimes making waves are cultists, especially around Nwaniba axis who have now turned armed robbers, robbing and maiming victims. The Ekpri and Akamba Nsukara communities, along Nwaniba Road, have been a flashpoint of this crime.
Early last week, a gang of ten cultists -armed robbers descended on Vision road, besides the permanent site of the University of Uyo, robbing stores, POS operators from one end of the street to another. They carted away phones and monies of the day’s business. Unsuspecting residents were harassed and others wounded. Residents and storekeepers at the once-upon-a- time safe road which terminates at Rayfield secondary school, now live in fear, as shops close from 6pm.
Worried about the spate of attacks by cultists, a resident, Miss Margaret Usoro, said she has decided to move out of the area due to regular violent attacks by cultists and armed robbery operations.
Residents of Nsukara communities now live in fear.
However, some reprieves seem to be in the offing, as Akwa Ibom State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Olatoye Durosinmi has assured residents of the state of adequate security. He vowed his men were ready to combat the increasing crime waves in the state.
In a second quarter media briefing, CP Durosinmi pointed out Nwaniba as one of the flashpoints Police are beaming their searchlights on. He said: “In the period under review, a total of 269 Suspects were arrested for different offences, ranging from Murder, kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism, rape, stealing, etc. While some of these Suspects have been charged to Court, others are still under investigation.”
CP Durosinmi, however, paraded five arrested cultists who have terrorized the Nwaniba communities. The State police boss said: “Five additional suspected cultists involved in the Nwaniba brutal cult clash which led to the loss of lives in the month of May were arrested after a painstaking investigation. The following were arrested; Kemfon Inyang Imeh a.k.a Laptop, Horgan Edem Obongedem a.k.a Eburutu, Brown Uduak Emmanuel a.k.a Spunky, Godwin Effiong Okon a.k.a Buy and Buy, Clement Sunday Udofia a.k.a Ikang Inwang – The Native Doctor who prepares their charms.”
Although, residents in the areas still want the police to do more, especially by arresting the fled suspects, who now hide away in the bush and come at night to terrorize and rob residents along the Tipper road, Akamba Nsukara, as lamented by victims to this writer last week.
Besides bursting the cultism ring at the Nsukara, Nwaniba communities, the police have recorded impressive success. Other suspects paraded included kidnappers of a vice chancellor of a private university, “On the 14th of April 2023, at about 10:30am, the vice chancellor of a private university University in the State was kidnapped on his way home. Two days later, being the 16th, in a prompt and discreet investigation, Operatives of the Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Command, arrested one Prince Thursday Okon, a former domestic staff who was sacked because of his criminal tendencies who masterminded the kidnapping and two of his gang members, Saviour Sunday Luke and Richard Friday, all of Ikot Ebam Village in Mkpan Enin LGA. The sum of one million, two hundred and seventy thousand naira cash was recovered as part of the ransom paid, while Two Hundred and Fifty thousand naira was left in one of the Suspect’s account. The Toyota Corolla used for the operation was also recovered. The VC has been reunited with his family.”
Another arrest was one Aniekan James of Ikot Ndot village in Ukanafun L.G.A who was arrested by Ukanafun Division for shooting his 35years only Son, Odudu Aniekan James, who engaged him in war of words. According to the police, the suspect is a habitual murderer who have committed murders in Lagos and Aba in Abia State.
Ritual killers were not also left out of the crack down of criminals in Akwa Ibom State, “as Edu Udeme Ime of Mbak Etoi Village, Uyo was arrested at Urua Ekpa junction by the Command’s Quick Response Squad for being in possession of human skull. Suspect could not give any reasonable explanation as to why he was in possession of same but named their ring leader who is a suspected ritualist,” Mr. Durosinmi said.
The police dragnet also caught some vandals of facilities at the airport. His words: “In a coordinated operation, the duo of Enyeneokpo Ubeh of Ikot Antia village and Gabriel Essien of Ndon Ebom village, both in Uruan LGA, were arrested by Operatives of the Anti-Narcotics Squad of the Command for vandalizing and stealing part of the airport gate facing the Okobo axis of the Victor Attah International Airport. Some of the vandalized parts have been recovered and efforts are being made to arrest other fleeing gang members.”
One Promise Chukwuemeka Anyanwu, 37years, of Abia State, who claim to be a medical doctor, was arrested by the SWAT Squad of the command. The suspect was said to be specializing in obtaining goods under false pretense. He was used to living lavishly in hotels but manipulated fake bank credit alerts for payment. But luck ran out of him, as he was arrested. According to the police commissioner, all the suspects would be charged to court. A worried resident said last week: “I hope that the State police high command would double down on her successes so far, in order to sustain the peaceful and low crime rate atmosphere that Akwa Ibom State is known of.”