By Jonathan Ugbal
Gangstars may be having a smooth ride in Obudu local government area of northern Cross River State due to negligence from law enforcement agencies and the military CrossRiverWatch findings reveal.
Obudu has been hit with series of kidnappings, armed robbery attacks and gangsterism which though have declined in recent months, still reeks of the stench as one of the unsafe places in the state which has witnessed a meteoric rise in crimes reported in the media.
On July 30, some suspected members of the Klans Confraternity performed an initiation ceremony at an undisclosed location which CrossRiverWatch could not verify if law enforcement officer were aware.
A day later, youths in Atiekpe community in Obudu urban were seen beating one of the new initiates unnamed with passers-by told he was a thief which the youth president, Ben Agba, says was a lie.
“It was when we drew closer that the truth came out and we discovered the boy had not paid dues and that is why he was being beaten,” said Benedict Agba, the head of the youth council in Obudu.
“The Army came, arrested them but I learnt they later released them,” he added.
The youths then arrested them and tied them in what our correspondent described as inhumane way with the Army coming in and after arresting the 3 culprits, released them a day later.
And, another youth (names withheld) who claims to have been aware of the initiation process and the beatings told CrossRiverWatch that the Army had freed them because their commander is also a member of the gang.
But, the Army commander denies this and despite initially referring this reporter to the Police, said the Army released them because they was no evidence.
“Have you called the Police?” Asked Lt. Maxwell Kasai who heads the Army unit in Obudu and this reporter answered in the affirmative.
He then proceeded to say that: “I cannot come out and say anything but there was no evidence to that (being gangstars),” and accepted that the Army did come for arrest.
However, another version of the story CrossRiverWatch gathered was the arrest of some gangstars by the Army which they handed over to the Police and were released by an aide to Governor Ben Ayade.
But, the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the Obudu division, ASP Eyu Lifu denies these and any knowledge regarding gangstar activities.
“Why don’t you verify your information before making any assertion? As far as I am concerned, there has been no arrest and that did not happen,” said a rather defensive ASP Lifu on phone.
His position was corroborated by Mr. Emmanuel Akwagiobe, the Community Relations Officer to Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade in Obudu who was accused of aiding the release of the gangstars.
“All those things are lies, it is not true,” Mr. Akwagiobe said initially and later added that: “I heard that youths in Atiekpe caught some people like that and dealt with them traditionally but nothing has being reported to my office.”
Images obtained by CrossRiverWatch shows Jungle Justice (which Mr. Akwagiobe referred to as ‘traditionally’) being meted on a young man who has injuries in his buttocks.
CrossRiverWatch, Ushang Ewa and Itiunbe Atunka contributed to this report.
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.