Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
Following the recent attack on residents of parliamentary in Calabar by unknown suspected criminals, State Security Adviser for Cross River Central, Ransome Odey has tendered an apology to victims of the robbery. He said the government has also initiated measures to avoid further attacks on them.
Odey who made the apology during an exclusive interview with TNN in Calabar shortly after a security summit organized by the National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN, Cross River chapter added that the situation was overwhelming to the security operatives on duty when the incident happened.
He however said they did not just refuse to respond to the distress call but that there were three different robbery attacks that happened simultaneously that night. He revealed that there were just two teams of ‘Operation Akpakwu’ covering the area which made it impossible for them to respond to the three different distress calls at the same time.
He maintained that the response of ‘Operation Akpakwu’ to distress calls since the security outfit was inaugurated by the governor has been commendable. He therefore pleaded with residents not to crucify the government at this one instant.
“If you recall, the day of that crime in parliamentary there were three different locations that robbery was going on simultaneously; in Aka-Ifa, in parliamentary and parliamentary extension and you just have about two teams covering that area, those two teams cannot respond to those three locations at the same time.
“So just as security agents are evolving crimes, to curb crimes, the criminals themselves are not sleeping; they’re coming up with new approaches and strategies so it is not to lose fate that they did not come. If the response of ‘Operation Akpakwu’ has been eighty percent, you won’t say that they haven’t done well, it is just to give this information on time. However, we apologize for it and we have also involved more strategies to combat future occurrences should they occur”, the security adviser said.
While responding to why these have continued to happen even in the midst of the curfew in the state, Odey said the activities happened during the curfew hours because they were criminals.
He said the curfew was for law abiding citizens not to come out. “That a man comes out and goes to rob, he’s doing so knowing that he’s committing a crime. When you say curfew, certain routes are being manned, you don’t man every nook and cranny, you don’t have the personnel to man every street and every close in the state and you cannot.
“So they don’t use the normal channels, they use back doors, back streets behind allies to commit these crimes, so the bottom line is that when a man wants to commit a crime, he finds a way to do it and we too are finding every means to sort them”, he affirmed.
The security adviser further pleaded with the youths to avoid involving themselves in criminal activities, believing that the law must catch up with the criminal elements disturbing the state one day.
He appreciated the NYCN for their initiative in coming together to see how they can assist the government in the fight against insecurity in the state. He said: “This initiative will help stem crime before it occurs, that is the most efficient way of curbing crime, so my take is that it is apt, the timing may not be perfect, but in the current circumstances, it is the best time for them to start.
“My word to the youths is that by whichever way they look at it, from whichever angle they look at it, they should understand that crime doesn’t pay. If you don’t meet your waterloo today you will meet it tomorrow. You leave on the edge because you don’t know when the law will catch up with you. So my advice is; there are alternative means of livelihood and survival other than crime, we should explore them for a healthy living”.
Recall that victims of the robbery attack had lamented to journalists how disappointed they were when they called security operatives during the incident which lasted for over 2 hours but could not get any response. One of the victims who spoke in pidgin had narrated thus: “Dem dey come like that because even two days around our neighborhood here dey rob them even rape girls around just two days ago so yesterday come be our turn.
“The truth be say the ones wey we call, wey me I call, dem no answer. I call Operation Akpakwu, dey no answer. So dey no respond. You can imagine say our estate dey in between two of their points, Efioete and women development center, none of dem don come say okay the calls wey una make wetin happen. So e no good dey just dey for road, they’re not helping us and this boys pass dem for road before dem enter this estate because normally this estate dey dey very very quite”.