By Our Correspondent
The Cross River State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Obi Ozeh has told CrossRiverWatch that there was no incident of armed robbery at the Calabar carnival village as reported by some national dailies.
The Commissioner explained that what happened at the village on Monday night was a case of crowd control which led to some unruly fans turning violent and attempting to invade the stage while star musician Kiss Daniel was performing.
“Yes, there was a reported incident of violence by unruly fans at the carnival village but our men were able to bring it under control. There was a change of venue from where the musician was supposed to perform at the stadium to the carnival village which is smaller and there was no proper communication between the organizers and security agencies and that resulted in some disagreement and crowd control issues and some youths decided to become violent and were throwing things at the stage but the situation was brought under control by our men. There was no incidence of robbery whatsoever at the carnival or anywhere in Calabar.”
CrossRiverWatch gathered that some fans who graced the annual month long funfair suddenly went wild and started pelting star musician, Kiss Daniel, on stage at about 1 a.m.
The incident disrupted the event and brought activities at the village to an abrupt halt as the police had to quickly intervene to return normalcy to the arena.
A CrossRiverWatch reporter who was at the venue reports that, “While Kiss Daniel took the stage, some fans got unruly and started throwing bottles and cans at him on stage while others became rowdy from the fringes of the stage. Immediately, bouncers at the event took on two of them and dragged them to a corner where they started beating the two guys that were grabbed. They were badly beaten by the bouncers I must say.
“It was those guys, who we gathered are from Calabar South, that went to mobilize their gang members and returned to invade the stage more violently, this time throwing a deluge of bottles and all manner of objects at the stage and breaking bottles and creating chaos. The police were forced to start shooting in the air and there was pandemonium everywhere, people running in all directions, while the musician was whisked into a police van and taken away.”
The state government also joined the police in debunking the report of robbery describing it as a ruse and mere tissue of lies.
The Government in a statement issued by the Spokesperson to Governor Ben Ayade, Christian Ita said the report was not only concocted but done in bad faith with the sole aim of embarrassing government.
According to the statement, “The report is replete with factual inaccuracies and outright lies invented by the author.
“It is shocking that a reporter who is holidaying somewhere in Lagos could conjure a robbery incident that never took place and worst still, syndicate same to some of his colleagues all in a bid to damage a brand that has been painstakingly built over the years.
“For the avoidance of doubts, there was no robbery at the Calabar Christmas village. That it was even reported that gunshots were fired shows the depth of ethical bankruptcy of the writer.
“What happened is that some fans who were watching Kiss Daniel’s performance became unruly at some point, throwing plastic bottles on stage. The incident lasted for a very brief period before security officials restored normalcy.
“How this incident is now being reported as an armed robbery attack begs the question whether the author of such report was truthful, accurate and objective in his reportage as the security mechanism in place makes it difficult if not impossible for anyone to sneak in any harmful object as biblically, it will be easier for a Donkey to pass through the eye of a needle than for such to take place.”
According to the SSA to the governor, for those who are familiar with the Christmas Village, “It is a one-stop center where different activities are happening at the same time. It is such that everyone keeps an eye on his neighbor and coupled with the heavy security presence, it is extremely difficult to imagine a robbery than to think of carrying it out.”
Now located in the precinct of Calabar Municipal Council Secretariat, the Carnival Village which used to be hosted at the Cultural Center, opens round the clock from December 1 to December 31 every year to serve fun seekers from all over the world.