By Ushang Ewa and Itiunbe Atunka
Men attached to the Bekwarra Division of the Nigerian Police Force on Wednesday morning shot a resident who was protesting the recent increase in crime in that local government area.
The protest was occasioned by the murder of a businessman, Mr. George Agu a.k.a James Bond who owned a beer parlor called Regular Cool Joint along Nyanya road in Abuochiche community. Mr. Agu was allegedly shot dead by armed robbers along the Bekwarra secondary school road on Monday night.
And, residents tired of the recurring cases of armed robbery, burglary, petty thievery, gangstarism, rape and motorcycle snatching, decided to protest the removal of the Divisional Police Officer, Mr. Oliver Michael whom CrossRiverWatch gathered is a Deputy Superintendent of Police.
But, the protest is said to have not gone down well with the DPO who ordered his men to shoot which left one of the protesters badly injured.
However, this is said to have motivated some indigenes of Bekwarra who staged a demonstration at the headquarters of the Police Command in the State at Diamond Hill Calabar.
Mr. Akwaji DonHenry, a legal practitioner told CrossRiverWatch that the people want the removal of Mr. Michael.
“The spate of armed robbery, bike stealing, raping, cultism and illicit drugs business is appalling,” said Mr. Akwaji who also posited that the Bekwarra people feel before the arrival of Mr. Michael, “the Bekwarra Nation was known for her peaceful coexistence with even aliens who are here to do business.”
However, he said the Police Command in the state had assured them that they will remedy the situation after protesting to the office of the Commissioner. But, he maintained that things were getting worse by the day.
Some residents alleged that some suspected criminals were arrested about five nights ago following a robbery at Ugborro community which left the victim sustaining gun wounds. But, after spending less than 72 hours in police custody, one of the suspects was released and the next robbery led to the death of Mr Agu.
The residents who say people are now scared of transacting businesses with cash as that may lead to a robbery at night maintain in hush tones that one Mr. Abang said to be an illicit drugs dealer who hails from Mbube community in Ogoja is said to be pulling the strings.
Meanwhile, in a related development, stakeholders have began convening meetings in Obudu local government area to stem the tide of the renewed spate of armed robberies, snatching of motorcycles and phones as well complaints of assaults.
The meeting comes on the heels of a series of incidents including the attack of a commercial motorcyclist with a machete which left him with facial injuries while trying to resist the snatching of his motorcycle, the shooting of another in Ipong ward which led to the loss of his motorcycle even though the Boki police division is said to have arrested the culprit in Bendeghe community as well as the snatching of another motorcycle at Bebuagbong clan which left the owner with machete cuts.
The stakeholders agreed that the vigilante should be reintroduced to assist the security agencies; it also called on relevant authorities to seize any motorcycle without a federal license plate or commercial cyclists union license plate.
All motorcycle owners were issued a one week ultimatum to register their properties or risk seizure as the community relations officer to the Cross River State government in that local government, Mr. Emmanuel Akwagiobe argued that information available suggested that motorcycles without proper identification were used for such odd activities.
The ultimatum is to elapse on April 29, 2018. And, the stakeholders agreed that the police, vigilante and Mr. Akwagiobe’s office hold similar meetings across the local government area.
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