By The Evangelist edition, Tuesday, January 9, 2024. By Uduak Ikpatt
Newly formed security outfit in Akwa Ibom State, Ibom Community Watch (ICW), said it apprehended over 18 suspected criminals who allegedly burgled people’s shops and stalls during the yuletide ìn Uyo the state capital.
The Commander of ICW, Isantim Kenneth Okon, disclosed this while receiving the leadership of Centre for Human Rights & Accountability Network (CHRAN) on behalf of the Commissioner, Ministry of Internal Security and Waterways, Akwa Ibom State, Gen. Koko Essien (rtd) in Uyo.
He saìd the suspects, having known that most shop owners locked their shops and move to the Christmas village to sell their wares during the yuletide, burgled those shops when the owners were away and attempted to loot the goods there in.
Okon explained that through the efforts of the ICW, who mounted surveillance around some spots in Uyo, the suspects were nabbed and immediately handed over to the police for investigations.
He further explained that in 2023, unlike other years, the cases of rape and theft around the Christmas village were highly reduced as men of ICW took over the security of the area and ensured that some of these crimes and criminality were averted noting that the agency is working in synergy with other security agencies especially in intelligence sharing.
“During the yuletide we used to have cases of rape, car theft etc especially at the Christmas village. We heard stories of how some boys will drag some girls to the banking layout to take them.
“In order to stem the tide, we told our recruits to take over the security of that place and it has worked tremendously, now we did not hear much stories on that.
Also “ICW apprehended over 18 suspects that went to break peoples stall because people moved to the Christmas village so they started breaking their stalls, we apprehended them and handed them to the police for further investigation but this is not a political affair.”
“When arm robbers strike they don’t consider party affiliations so security is everyone’s business.”
While noting that all the recruits of ICW would be profiled, Okon urged people to disabuse their minds that the outfit has political undertone and the recruits are cultists saying that it is purely a security outfit and everyone should be involved in security matters.
Speaking earlier, the Akwa Ibom State Director of CHRAN, Otuekong Franklyn Isong, commended the governor and the House of Assembly for enacting the law establishing the commission to address the issues of internal security in the state.
He charged the agency to be diligent in its duties by ensuring that issues of vandalism, cultism, trafficking especially within the Ibom plaza, kidnapping and other forms of security threats are addressed.
He thanked governor Umo Eno for providing 14 gunboats to the Navy to tackle Maritime insecurity.
Isong also urged the governor to provide more gunboats and other logistics saying that the 14 gunboats already provided will not be enough to go round the waterways in the state.
The CHRAN director also called for continuous training of the recruits and the establishment of human rights desk for complaints from the public in order to give the agency a human right face.
He also tasked them on moving towards the University campuses as well as checking the activities of scavengers and the cattle rearers whose cows have continuously destroyed the crops of farmers.
He urged governor Eno to provide a cattle ranch for them to stop the issues of open grazing in the state.
Isong, however, noted that CHRAN would police the activities of the security agency urging them to always be up and doing.