By Raymond EKPE South-south Investigator Bureau Chief/
PANDEMONIUM broke out yesterday, after suspected hoodlums numbering more than 50 attacked the divisional police headquarters in Essien Udim Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state. Although the police successfully repelled the attackers during a gun battle that ensued, vehicles parked within the premises of the station and some offices were said to have been totalled by the attackers, who struck in the early hours of Monday. The incident came barely one week after some hoodlums attacked members of the Quick Response Squad of the police along Ikpe Annang junction in Essien Udim, killing a police Inspector with his operational Hilux van burnt to ashes. Although no life was lost during the incident, it was gathered that the hoodlums launched the attack following an alleged arrest and detention of some of their gang leaders. Reacting to the incident the Chairman of Essien Udim Local Government Council, Mr Anthony Luke, condemned the attack on the police station, describing it as an act of cowardice. Luke, who dismissed insinuations that the attacks may have politically motivated, said the council would not be intimidated in the war against crime and criminality in the area. While calling on the people of Essien Udim people to remain calm and go about their legitimate businesses, the Chairman assured residents that the council was working in collaboration with the State government and security agencies to fish out the perpetrators and would bring them to justice soon. Contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Odiko MacDon, confirmed the incident adding, “Our station was torched, but no life was lost and no riffle was carted away.” According to the command’s image maker, the Commissioner of Police, Mr Amiengheme Andrew, visited the affected station and that investigation was ongoing. At the time of filing this report, MacDon said no arrest had been made.
In the meantime, the police area commander in Ikot Ekpene, Mr Nasiru Bello, who visited the scene of the incident, lamented the continuous killing of police officers by hoodlums in Akwa Ibom state. Bello called on members of the public to regularly feed police with vital information that would help track down the bandits.