By Jonathan Ugbal
A combined team of Police and personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) yesterday (Sunday) arrested a half loaded truck containing wood suspected to be gotten from illegal logging at Rabana roundabout in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.
The truck is said to have disguised the wood and packaged it in the form of cement and when discovered, the ‘Operation Skolombo’ team stationed at Rabana radioed for backup and within minutes, there were eleven patrol vehicles from the A Division of the Nigeria Police, Akim Division, NSCDC, State Traffic Command amongst others at the scene.
This occurred at about 7:00PM and following about 35 minutes of discussion, the truck was allowed to go and it slowly drove down IBB Way where it turned into the Murtala Muhammed highway.
“This is a regular incident around here,” said CrossRiverWatch correspondent, Ogar Monday who told this reporter that those around, were used to the scene.
Meanwhile, a staff of the Health Ministry who was watching keenly spotted this reporter and added: “They don’t want to see wood in Calabar again unless it is from one of the two Timber markets around here.”
This comes barely a week after Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade donated 20 units of 2014 model Ford Ranger 4X4 patrol trucks to the security agencies in the state where he said the state will not “rest on its oars in ensuring adequate protection of lives and property of its citizenry at all times, hence our regular support to the operatives.”
He assured the officers and men of the state’s continuous improvement on their welfare issues, and explained that: “The effort is to ensure that construction work at the proposed 275 kilometers superhighway and the Bakassi deep seaport is carried out without any hitches or breach of peace” and explained the importance of the projects to the state.
“My major rescue plan is to find an alternative means of income and you know we’re a coastline state and we have taken advantage of that to develop the deep seaport as well as an evacuation corridor that will bring the Atlantic Ocean closer to our brothers in the north, thus making it easier for those in Maidugri and Kano who want to use the road to (the) port for exportation of their abundance solid minerals that abound in the area can do so without hitches.”
The Governor also said the state is fortifying its land borders as it will soon deploy patrol boats and posited that: “Since the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroun, Cross River has become vulnerable to all forms of criminality, particularly militancy who took advantage of the porous sea entrance to the state.”
Commending the strides of the security personnel so far, he said that: “We know that you are gallant officers and all we believe is that with your presence and full commitment, we shall have our deep seaport and superhighway constructed devoid of any militancy attack.”
Responding on behalf of the other service commanders, the Commanding Officer Nigerian Navy Victory Command, Commodore Suleiman Jubril, who thanked the governor for always supporting them in discharging their constitutional duties, promised to do their best at ensuring that all project sites are protected, secured and work completed without any security issues.