By Dennis Udoma, Uyo
Residents of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital now sleep with one eye opened following the renewed crime waves by hoodlums in the State.
The situation was heightened last Friday, when a group of armed men stormed the popular Itam market in Itu Local Government Area, near Uyo, carting away bags of rice worth millions of Naira.
A source in the market who craved anonymity told our correspondent that, the incident happened at about 11 pm, when a group of armed men allegedly dressed in Army and Police uniforms pretending to be security personnel on duty stormed the market.
He said, ‘‘the group of armed men who pretended to be security people on duty came to the market at about 11 pm and took away 100 bags of rice belonging to traders.
‘‘They also took along with them other valuable items and monies amounting to N10 million in the shop’’.
Elsewhere in Udo Umana within the capital city hoodlums, numbering over 20 were said to have attacked the Akpan-andem market area on Sunday night, scaring the residents with gun shots, while they had a field day operating from house to house.
Asutan Street, where the Correspondents’ Chapel office of the Nigeria Union of Journalists was not left out in the ensuing melee last Wednesday night, as residents were awoken to overnight raid of a community pharmacy by the bandits.
The hoodlums, according people in the neighbourhood who confided in our correspondent, defied the presence of vigilante group in the area to wreak havoc.
Another community like Atan Offot reportedly had its fair share of the banditry, when a gang of young men embarked on a house to house raid and looted vehicles by removing batteries and other valuable parts.
A vigilante, who attempted to resist them was alleged to have lost his life, thereby creating fears among residents of the area.
The growing incidence and incessant molestation of residents by criminals at night, was attributed to weak surveillance by the police Mr Umoh Etim said, and called on the new Commissioner of Police to beef up security patrols in the state, especially at night to checkmate criminal activities.
Mr Etim, who resides at Udoette Street also reported some security breaches in his area, and called for restoration of street lights in all parts of the capital city to ward-off ongoing nefarious activities by criminals.
The Police Public Relations Officer, CSP N-Nudam Frederick when contacted on the renewed crime wave said, he was not aware of such issues but, promised to contact the DPOs of the affected areas for update.
Meanwhile, the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr Aniekan Bassey has pledged to partner the State Police Command in combating crime and insecurity in the state.
He made the pledge when he received the new CP, Mr Amiengheme Inobeme Andrew and his team on a familiarization visit at the Assembly complex.