By CrossRiverWatch Admin
I used the word cultism only for the caption. They are gangstas and that is how I will call them throughout.
Elsewhere, the Italian government is mopping up members of two Nigerian criminal gangs, the Vikings and their rival Black Axe confraternity, operating drug and prostitution rings in the Sicilian capital, Palermo.
Back in my state, Cross River, members of these same criminal gangs are obviously colonizing the territory without let or hinder.
Cosa Nostra, one of Italy’s oldest mafia groups and one of the world’s major drug smuggling players, along with the Vikings and rivals Black Axe, are now said to be controlling heroine and prostitution rackets in the Ballaro’ neighbourhood in Palermo.
But, months of a sustained crackdown by Sicilian police on members of the gangs led to the arrest of dozens of them in November by the Palermo Flying Squad and more Nigerians are now stepping forward to denounce the mobs and making it harder for the criminals to operate.
In contrast, this month December 2017 alone, these miscreants have killed at least 7 persons both in Calabar South and Calabar Municipal as reported by CrossRiverWatch.
The impunity with which they perpetrate these crimes without giving a damn about whether there is law enforcement, leaves much to be desired.
Up till now, there is no verifiable record of who has been punished for all the litany of gang war killings that trolled Calabar in 2016 into early 2017.
There were more than 20 reported killings, some very very gruesome and in broad day light.
Calabar South was drenched in violence and brigandage and blood flowed. But, what we have is that most of those that were arrested in connection with those killings are either back home or are negotiating their way back home courtesy of their connections in government.
Rather than government and security agencies coming out hard on these criminal gangs, for three months, up until February 2017, there was a big billboard by the Black Axe Confraternity mounted along Murtala Mohammed Highway by Mobil gas station in the heart of Calabar with a very bold picture of Governor Ayade, congratulating him.
It is only this week that I also noticed that another billboard by the Vikings Confraternity which has since been strategically placed as you are driving out of the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, has just been removed, for carnival adverts.
Did the state Signage and Advertising Agency, CRISSA, actually collect money to vet those billboards?
The governor and his PR people drive by those boards daily and see them and they hear everyday too how these gangstas kill people around them, but they don’t care if the same murderous gangs print bill boards with our dear governor’s name and picture on it.
But how will they care when even some of the closest appointees to the governor boasts of their membership of these gangs?
How will they care when it is open knowledge that many appointees in the government are also known members of these criminal gangs?
How will they care when they know the governor has repeatedly promised them that he will never sack anyone?
How will they care when these gangstas who have been dressed in official robes know that their actions will not attract any dire consequence?
How will they even care when some of them are even positioning for election which they say the powers that be have promised them?
Tell me, how will they care, when they say they can do anything and nothing will happen?
But I sincerely wish something can happen. I wish that the killings can stop. I wish my governor can be more decisive. I wish someone can remove the impetus from the killers. The cover they are enjoying. From Calabar South to Municipal to Ugep to Obudu to Yala; remove the fishes from the river. But that is if wishes were wants.
And as the ‘men’ keep falling and dying, let’s pray that it does not get to our domot before we raise our voices.
Jalingo is a journalist and activist and he writes from Lagos.
Opinions expressed in this article are strictly attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo, and do not represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.