From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The Cross River State Police Command said on Wednesday that it arrested seven criminal suspects for kidnapping, robbery, cultism and unlawful possessions of firearms between mid-December last year and mid-January, 2021.
The suspects arrested and paraded at the Command headquarters in Calabar have been identified as Prince Okon Etim, Okokon Etim Effiong, Clement Okon Effiong, Henshaw Asuquo Inyang, Lawerence Ekpenying Essien, Ajah Chinonso and Udie Augustine.
Speaking to the media shortly after the suspect line up, Police Commissioner Sikiru Kayode Akande said he was in town to wage a relentless war and launch a serious onslaught on criminals, disclosing that the police have set up a robust intelligence network and platform with members of the public and private individuals.
Commissioner Akande added that the Command would improve upon the existing collaboration with other security agencies, community and youth leaders, and other stakeholders in crime-fighting.
According to him, while Prince Okon Etim, a suspected kidnapper from Akpabuyo, was arrested on December 17, 2020, at in a meeting at Akparka Street, Calabar South, with one Romance, a popular kidnapper on the police’s watchlist, in preparation for an operation, Okokon Etim Eddiong and Clement Okon Effiong were arrested on December 31 while carrying out a robbery operation on residents of Lemna in Calabar Municipality.
The police commissioner said that the other suspects Henshaw Asuquo Asuquo Inyang and Lawerence Ekpenyong Essien were arrested on January 6 by men of Operation Akpakwu following a tip-off that some suspected cultists were preparing to foment trouble within 8-Miles axis. Two other robbery suspects, Ajah Chinonso and Udie Augustine, were apprehended on January 17 in Ikom Annex by the men of Operation Puff Adder.
He listed items recovered by the Command to include three locally-made pistols, two live bullets, one double-barrel pistol and a handset as well as ATM cards.
Akande, the 41st Cross River State Police Commissioner, said: ‘I have gone deep into my reservoir on the security challenges of the three senatorial districts and the only way to overcome it is to re-strategise on community policing.
‘Based on that, I have been reaching out to critical stakeholders on how to tackle it. I, therefore, assure Cross Riverians that I have come to shine [a light on] the darkened areas in the state and return to our hospitality lifestyle.
‘This time, we are ready to smoke out criminals from the state. I call on members of the public to feel free to call and be honest to offer useful information on the activities of criminals.’