By Ushang Ewa and Patrick Obia
No fewer than five have been gruesomely murdered at the Nasarawa Bacoco axis of Calabar Municipal local government area of southern Cross River in a renewed gang war that began on Friday residents say.
It is unclear the groups that are currently embroiled in the gang war, but a terrified resident said shops now lock up before 6:00PM.
“Amongst the dead is a plumber whose wife just put to birth,” the resident (name withheld to prevent attacks) told this reporter in a trembling voice on Sunday morning. “I know him, I know him so well,” the resident wept.
Meanwhile, the wife of a medical doctor kidnapped almost a fortnight ago, Mrs. Christiana Ekanem has been released.
The Nigerian Medical Association in Cross River led by Dr. Agam Ayuk had gone on an indefinite strike over the repeated kidnapping of their colleagues and immediate families.
And, despite the national body directing them to resume on Friday due to the increase in reported cases of COVID-19, Ayuk had on Saturday expressed the association’s displeasure over the situation of Mrs Ekanem who has remained in captivity for 11 days with possible deterioration of her health condition.
Ayuk said that her continued stay in captivity had caused trauma and distress on the family and members of the Association.
“The Cross River Government has not showed any political will to facilitate the safe release of Mrs Ekanem, neither has the government scaled up any measures to curtail the abysmal insecurity situation in the state.
“NMA in Cross River will continue her indefinite withdrawal of services until Mrs Ekanem is released safely and unconditionally. Her life and safety is as important as the life of any Coronavirus victim.
“The state owes all citizens residing in Cross River equal rights to safety. Unfortunately, the safe release of Mrs Ekanem cannot wait until Covid-19 is contained and we cannot afford to abandon her to fate.
“The Association hereby reiterates her call on Gov. Ben Ayade to expedite the safe release of Mrs Ekanem and put measures in place to secure lifes and properties in the state as his primary responsibility”, he said.
Ayuk also disclosed that Cross River has not recorded any case of Coronavirus, adding NMA remain committed to emergency preparedness and the health of Crossriverians as they were equally part of the process of enlightenment and emergency preparedness.
However, Mrs Ekanem was released on Sunday morning, CrossRiverWatch gathered.
It is unclear whether a ransom was paid just as in the case of popular Calabar karaoke club owner, Akeem Ibrahim who was also released a few days ago.
There have been an upsurge in kidnappings across Cross River State with a lot remaining unsolved. The case of PeterTex Etim, a veteran broadcaster who was abducted on January 11, 2019 remains a reference especially after the former Police chief in the state, Mr. Austin Agbonlahor said he could not confirm if Etim was alive or not. There have been a few arrests and prosecutions.
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