Fear grips Calabar residents as kidnapping, armed robbery soar
Anxiety and fear have gripped Calabar, the Cross River State capital as kidnapping, robbery and other criminal activities soar.
Consequently, scared investors and business operatives close shops early while some others are planning to relocate.
Following this general state of insecurity, the state police command is maintaining routine patrol in various parts of the metropolis in order to assure residents of their safety.
Yesterday afternoon, despite the heavy police presence dare-devil armed robbers struck along Ndidem Usang Iso Road leaving many people scampering for safety. Many shops like Southern Fries, a kiddies shop including a commercial bank were robbed.
On Wednesday, a Third Republic senator, Patrick Ani, was kidnapped barely 16 days after five foreigners and two Nigerians were kidnapped by suspected militants, along Idundu Bridge on June 22.
However, they were released on June 26 after a N250m ransom was allegedly paid. Top sources close to UNICEM, a subsidiary of Lafarge told The Guardian that, "the sum of N250m was paid to secure their release and both UNICEM and MacMahon, the Australian firm working for the later raised the money.”
Before these last two kidnappings, building materials dealers in Calabar, in the early part of the year, lived in fear after seven of their colleagues were reportedly kidnapped within a space of two weeks and forced to cough out large sums of money before they regained freedom.
The Ibom Layout axis of Ndidem Iso Road in the state capital was also under siege on Tuesday and Wednesday, as shops there were under siege by robbers.
Ani, younger brother of former Nigeria's Finance Minister, Etubom Anthony Ani, who represented Cross River South Senatorial District on the platform of the defunct National Republican Convention (NRC), was kidnapped in his farm in Akpabuyo Local Council, near Calabar.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRP) in the state, Irere Ugbo, said the police has always worked hard to make sure the state remains safe.
"As at now, the state police commissioner has put in place strategies, one of which is the day-to-day patrol to make sure that the state is safe. So be rest assured that by the special grace of God we are working keeping the city safe."
On Ani’s kidnap, she said police in the state was not aware of such as "there has not been an official report. So, for now, we don't know anything."
Top family sources have confirmed the kidnap but declined to open up for “fear of the unknown.”