Few days after declaring 35 youths wanted over their suspected involvement in the recent cult-related killings that have been recorded in the state, the Cross River State government has taken further steps to demolish buildings belonging some of them who are still at large.
The demolition exercise on the order of the State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade was carried out on Thursday in Calabar by a joint team of security agencies and government officials led by the Senior Special Assistance on Security (South) to the Governor, Mr. Ani Esin.
The first point of the exercise was a mini-estate of two buildings belonging to the number one in the list of wanted persons declared by the government.
He is Kufre Ekpo Eyo, fondly called (Romance) – son of Chief Ndabo Ogote Ekpo Etim of Uwanse, Calabar South. His property believed to be proceeds of kidnapping and cultism is located in CRUTECT quarters in Calabar south and was brought down by bulldozers that accompanied the government demolition team.
Kufre (a.k.a) Romance, still at large, is believed to be a ring leader of a cult group and a kidnapping syndicate.
The demolition team also moved to a brothel along a commercial district in the state capital, at Bedwell Street to be specific. It is also believed to have been erected by one of those in the wanted list and has been a den for numerous crimes and criminals.
According to a former Speaker of the Cross River House of Assembly, Hon. John Gaul Lebo, the action of the state government is backed by statutory provisions under the Cross River State Anti kidnapping Law 2015.
“It is a clear penalty provision that once the security agencies and the state Security Council made up heads of all the agencies confirm the property or proceed of such crime, the Governor acting on such report and confirmation from the agencies should either forfeit or demolish the said property,” John Gaul stated.
An earlier statement by the Permanent Secretary on Security, Special Duties Office, Governor’s Office, Calabar, Mr Alfred Mboto noted that “the spate of killings and violence taking place in the Calabar metropolis over supremacy of various fraternities is alarming and unacceptable by the government and people of Cross River State.”
He listed the names of the 35 youths and their nicknames and well as known contact or residential addresses. Among those listed, include a Councillorship candidate in Calabar, South Ward 6 under the PDP and two persons recently released from person custody by the Acting Chief Judge of the State under the exercise of the prerogative of mercy and decongestion of prisons as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A statement also revealed that a handsome reward awaits any person or group of persons who provides useful information that would lead to the arrest of any of the persons so declared wanted.
It warned “that any house/hotel accommodating any of these persons or any other perpetrators of the act will be confiscated and the owner of the property prosecuted accordingly”.