Suspected car battery thief burnt alive in Calabar 

Commissioner of Police in Cross River, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa

A young man suspected to have stolen a car battery was yesterday burnt alive along Yellow Duke Street in Calabar, Cross River State, in the latest incidence of jungle justice in Calabar.

A resident of the area who witnessed the incident said the ill-fated young man was suspected to have stolen a battery in one of the cars parked in the area and when an alarm was raised that he was a thief, a mob immediately gathered and beat him up thoroughly.

“They beat him up until he could no longer move. After that they got some tyres and put around his neck. He was still alive and crying when petrol was brought and poured on him before setting him on fire. He was burnt to ashes on the spot,” the eyewitness said.

This incident has raised the killings by jungle justice to nine since the beginning of the year in Calabar alone, giving residents something to worry about on how a once peaceful state could lately become a hotbed of criminal activities. More worrisome in the disturbing trend is the fact that residents do no longer have confidence in the police.

“It is sad. We must not burn criminals. Let us trust in the Nigeria Police Force. Let us also use the whistle-blowing policy of the state government to report criminals and their activities,” a disturbed resident said.

Just last week, the Commissioner of Police in Cross River, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, had advised car owners in the state to be vigilant whenever they park their cars to avoid theft of their car batteries.

Inuwa had given the advice to newsmen following incessant complaints from residents of Calabar about theft of their vehicle batteries. He assured that the command would re-enforce its vehicular and foot patrols in all parts of the state with a view to curbing the ugly trend.

The commissioner stressed the need for car owners to avoid parking their cars by the roadsides during nocturnal hours. He said that most of the theft of car batteries were recorded in the night.

The Guardian gathered that the incident was very rampant in Ikot-Ansa area of Calabar Municipality where some affected residents had abandoned their cars because of lack of money to buy new batteries.

A resident in the area and a government retiree, Mr. Paul Akan, said hoodlums used to invade his compound around 5a.m. to steal car batteries. It would be recalled that barely two weeks ago, precisely on February 16, a suspected armed robber whose gang has been terrorizing residents of Calabar, was burnt to death by an angry mob after he was caught in action.

The man, who was in his 20s, was a member of a seven-man gang that had invaded the Ikot Abasi Obori, Kasuk Town and the popular Ikot Ishie Market all in the Calabar Municipal Area Council, robbing residents and traders.

Tired of their activities, the people mobilized and went after the gang despite the fact that they had guns and charms on them. The unlucky gang member was caught while the rest managed to escape and the crowd meted out instant jungle justice on him.

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