In a renewed clampdown on criminal activities, Etim Ekpo Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State is said to have topped the crime chart in the state.
DSP Bala Elkana, the Police Public Relations Officer in Akwa Ibom, who stated this Tuesday at this year’s Nigeria Union of Journalists Press Week, Akwa Ibom Council said EtimEkpo is followed by Ukanafun Local Government Area in criminal activities.
Elkana said so far Etim Ekpo has the highest incidence of kidnappings and robbery cases caused by increased cultism activities in the area, pointing out that this was discovered during crime mapping in the state by the state Commissioner for Police in company of other high ranking police officers.
“Before Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun became so calm, the commissioner of police visited Etim Ekpo seven times just within the period he became commissioner. A lot of stakeholders’ meetings were held. We identified this truth. You cannot police the people effectively without involving the people. We have been policing in isolation over the years,” he recalled.
Elkana revealed that “In Etim Ekpo we discovered another big challenge which is the mother of all the troubles- cultism. If you look at all the kidnappers, you will see that they are cultists, those into armed robbery are cultists.”
The PPRO took a swipe at the hitherto policing strategy and declared that the present strategy has adopted by the state command has helped to track criminals and quell crisis. “There is a big gap between the police and the people that we are supposed to police, which is why we could not make much progress in police our dear nation.
The measure put in place to bridge the gap is known as community-based policing strategy- policing for the people, carrying the people along, identifying policing problems affecting a locality and together proffering local solution to those identified problems. That has helped us in addressing the security challenge in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun,” he commented.
He, therefore, called on people in the state to always cooperate with the police in giving authentic information that would lead to arrest of criminal elements in their communities, remarking that if the people fail to do so they would be the losers.
On the increased traffic lockdown in Uyo metropolis, Elkana stated “Last few weeks, I received a quite a number of calls from journalists complaining about Uyo- the traffic hold-up usually experienced at night was just too much. Some said they were held up for about 30 minutes. I explained to them why we need to lock down Uyo city.”
According to him, “It is a lock-down policy because we heard of criminal elements raiding houses, snatching vehicles in the town at strategic locations, collecting handsets and other valuables from people. So, I took the fight to all identified areas. We got a harvest of those criminal elements and we have charged 90 per cent of those cases to court. We are following up the prosecution to show that they cannot just return without facing the punishment the law stipulates.