Red alert: Bandits on the prowl again in Uyo
Barely two weeks after normalcy returns to the state, the security situation in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State, has apparently been further worsened, following renewed attacks on citizens by suspected hoodlums.
According to The Explorer Newspaper, on Thursday, 12th November, 2020 at about 19:00 hour, not less than 20 citizens were robbed of their smart phones and other valuables along the popular Ibom Plaza area of the State Capital.
According to one of the victims who spoke on condition of anonymity via the telephone, the suspected bandits moved along in groups of not less than three persons per gang to perpetrate the crime.
He said they carried out their operations along major roads experiencing heavy traffic, gridlock within the State Capital.
“The Minibus I boarded was coming from Ikot Ekpene Road to Plaza. As soon as we got to the Uniuyo Town Campus roundabout where Keke (tricycle operators) always parked, I saw some young guys with axes, machetes and other weapons surround the vehicle.
“Before anyone could phantom what was going on, one of them jumped into the vehicle ordering us (passengers) to handover our phones to him while the other two manned the door.
“As soon as he threatened stabbing the lady that had attempted hiding the phone under the seat, everyone that were holding their phones at hand succumbed and handed over and they move over to the next vehicle”, the source recounted.
Our source who said he was heading to Nwangiba axis, added that from the point they were robbed (Udi Street loading point) to Udo Umana Traffic light by Oron Road, he experienced similar coordinated operations by the hoodlums against other road users, mostly commercial vehicles.
Our source who claimed that the Tricycle operators whom he said usually parked along the Uniuyo Town Campus roundabout and Udi Street also contributed to the vexing gridlock and the terror visited on them by the suspected hoodlums, calling on the appropriate authorities to take adequate action to stem the tide of criminality in the area.
He also called on the police to be alive to their duty especially along the Ibom Plaza axis which he said has become increasingly unsafe for road users during the evening hours.
Meanwhile, when contacted on phone, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Odiko MacDon, said the police was not aware of the incident and promised to launch investigation into the matter.
The PPRO who said the state Command has made public phone numbers for citizens to always call in case of emergency.
“The Police are not spirits. We work with information. I’ve always encourage the people, when you suspect something, see something or hear something, call the police.
“Take advantage of the phone numbers that we have been reeling out to call us whenever need arises”, MacDon
The situation, if left unchecked, may affect the tourism potential of the state and government’s efforts to attract investors into the state.