By Ushang Ewa
Cross River State in the past few weeks has witnessed an upscale in criminal activities especially gangstarism which has left no fewer than 20 dead.
Calabar, the state capital, once noted for its hospitality, tranquility, cleanliness and greenness is now a shadow of its self with public affairs analysts at loss over the cause of the current scenario.
CrossRiverWatch findings have seen a significant reduction in the number of “Operation Skolombo” patrol vans sighted in the streets of Calabar.
“Operation Skolombo” is a code name for the Quick Intervention Squad of the Emergency Response Center, a security unit reporting to the State Security Adviser, Mr. Jude Ngaji.
Incumbent Governor Ben Ayade said the name will “energize the security officials as it will bring in verve, vitality and renewed energy to combat crime.”
The name was used to refer to street urchins who terrorized the streets of Calabar prior to the 2015 general elections and still hold sway in large swathes of Calabar South.
Fueling of the vehicles also remain a challenge with the Operation Skolombo commander ‘not in-charge’ anymore.
“The commander used to get 33,000 liters of fuel, that is one whole tanker in the last administration but nowadays you have to apply and oga is the only one that can give approval. Na it mek some of our people dey complain for fuel but that one no be serious challenge sha” a security operative told this reporter in confidence.
Funding and infrastructure is also not left out with investigations revealing that contrary to the claims of the state government that it distributed 160 vehicles four months ago, less than 40 have actually being distributed.
So far, the Nigerian Army got 5, Air Force, 3 DOPT, 2, Navy, 5, CRUTECH, 2, while the police is yet to get any according to our source.
The Kia Rio sedan crested Homeland Security vehicles have remained parked in the premises of the Governor’s office. The vehicles are said to have been initially purchased for civil servants but Labor argued that the interest rate was too high for civil servants and the vehicles were subsequently converted to security vehicles but are still parked in the Governor’s office.
400 were said to have been ordered with only about 100 delivered so far.
Also, findings revealed that the current upsurge in gangstar related killings may be connected with the fact that Governor Ayade has appointed hundreds of previous and current gangstars and known criminals to serve in Government with some openly displaying their ‘colors and affiliations’ in several fora and gathering.
Communal clashes have become recurrent with the recent killings in Boki taking a different dimension as two top aides of the Governor are fingered to be at the center of the crisis.
However, the Police Commissioner, CP Hafiz Inuwa recently vowed to deal decisively with the perpetrators of these crimes.
15 arrests have been made by the command in connection with the recent violence and the situation in Calabar South is relatively under control with heavy deployment of Police and Army.
How sustainable this will be remains to be seen particularly now that the Local Government Elections are approaching.
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.