By Utang Bassey and Jonathan Ugbal
The level of insecurity has heightened in Calabar South local government area of Cross River State with continuous reports of bag and valuables snatching as well as increased gangster activities CrossRiverWatch can authoritatively report.
This is even as the State Security Adviser Jude Ngaji paraded 78 alleged criminal elements commonly referred to as Skolombo boys arrested by the Quick Intervention Squad of the Emergency Response Center recently code named ‘Operation Skolombo’.
Findings by CrossRiverWatch reveal that residents are now scared of staying outdoors beyond 8 or 9 PM for fear of being attacked by hoodlums who have devised new strategies ranging from wearing only underpants with some rubbing oily substances to prevent them from being caught to tactically approaching single unsuspecting people to either just snatch their properties or conduct a body search.
The residence of Bibiana Ineji, a staff of the information ministry residing at the CRUTECH staff quarters Calabar, Sunday, was broken into with the hoodlums carting away two laptops, kid shoes and other valuables while they were in church.
While speaking with CrossRiverWatch, Bibiana who is the information officer in the Ministry of Environment was all moody, wearing a long face which at first glance one will think she was mourning.
“My family and I were attending the thanksgiving ceremony of one of our neighbours and upon our arrival from church we discovered the back door had been damaged and we immediately set out to find out what was missing and discovered our laptops, my son’s shoes and several other things were nowhere to be found. The town is not really safe” Bibiana said.
Also, Emeka (not actual name), a shop owner told CrossRiverWatch that there is need for the security agencies operating in the state to clamp down on the elements.
“O boy, we always sell in fear once it is 5:30 PM, because you never know when these boys will strike, sometimes they come first in twos to test you and then in their numbers. Every day, you hear of someone been shot by another person and the next day that other person is also shot and it goes on and on. I thank God so far they are yet to raid shops, if that starts, I might be forced to close down and relocate” Emeka said.
Other respondents who spoke with CrossRiverWatch agree that the level of insecurity has heightened with some wondering why the Operation Skolombo is no longer as effective as it was.
Meanwhile, Jude Ngaji, Wednesday at the ERC office premises in Calabar paraded 78 alleged Skolombo elements to the public.
Addressing journalists, Ngaji in the company of the SDG Commissioner, Oliver Orok, said “People say they are ghosts, here they are”, adding that “They will be handled by the social welfare ministry who know best what to do with them.”
The alleged Skolombo elements consisted of 68 boys and men, 8 girls and a couple. Also, over 30 of them were said to hail from neighbouring Akwa Ibom state.
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.