AN 18-man heavily armed, hooded robbery gang at about 2 a.m on Saturday invaded No 55, Ebito-Mayne Avenue area in Calabar, the Cross River State capital in an 18-seater bus, carting away phones, laptops, cash, television sets and ATM cards from their victims.
The robbers, according to eyewitnesses, operated for over two hours without any challenge from security personnel.
The victims are currently in severe shock and fear, while the Nigerian police, Uwanse Division, where the victims reported the attack, are assessing the situation.
Eyewitnesses explained that some of the female victims were almost raped during the over two-hour attack.
“They came in an 18-seater bus, well-armed. They ran riot for over two hours from 2am. They took away 7 phones, 3 Apple laptops, over N130,000 cash, TV sets, 6 ATM cards and food stuff. They left the house almost empty. My friend was lucky enough not to have been raped.
“Urgent steps must be taken as soon as possible to crack down on these criminals, who run riot on helpless and innocent citizens without any interference by the security agencies. At this point the government and security agencies in that part of the state have to do something, something very urgent, to nip this ugly situation in the bud.
“I am calling on the Cross River State Government to do something about this ugly situation in the state capital. I’m also calling on the security agencies to step up their game in securing our state and its citizens.
“The primary responsibility of government is to protect lives and properties, and this they must do,” Obeten Godfrey, a victim, lamented.
When contacted the PPRO for Cross River State Police Command, SP. Irene Ugbo, said the report was yet to reach her desk, but she would look into the report. “You are just telling me now; the report has not reached my desk, but I will enquire into the report immediately,” she said
However, police sources said an IPO had been assigned to lead a team of investigators to the scene of crime.
Sources also said the police were not called during the attack, and that the gang members came with an intention to kidnap one of the victims, who had to jump down from a storey building to escape.
He added that the police had accessed the scene of crime and preliminary investigations had commenced.
“I was at the scene of crime this morning, that’s what I have been saying. Nobody called us. There was no call, even from the neighbourhood, but so far from what we have seen, we are trying to interrogate the victims because it was a calculated robbery.
“It was an insider who arranged that robbery; there are very big buildings around that area but the gang targeted that particular one, which makes it very suspicious. And at the entrance of the house there is a strong iron door, but they did not lock it.
“The gang members climbed into the building through a ladder, and carried out the raid. The male victim had to jump down from the storey building he heard them say that he should be kidnapped for a ransom; so, someone may have closely monitored them to know how they operate, in order to mastermind that attack.
“One of the gang members was masked, while others weren’t. The male victim is currently at an undisclosed medical facility,” the police source explained.