Violence and confusion reign right now in Calabar, Cross River State, as hoodlums in large numbers have continued to vandalise and loot public and private facilities in the state.
The situation in Calabar, which appears uncontrolled for now, began on Friday, PREMIUM TIMES learnt.
Jonathan Agban-ugbal, a journalist with CrossRiverWatch, who is on the ground in Calabar, told PREMIUM TIMES by phone that the situation in the city is “free for all right now”.
“I can confirm to you that Senator Geshom Bassey, representing the Southern Senatorial District, Victor Ndoma Egba, former NDDC chairman, their houses have been broken into, some part of their houses have been set ablaze right now.
“They are looting the residence of Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, former NDDC MD. He is there in the house with his wife and daughter.”
Mr Agban-ugbal said Mr Henshaw called him on phone and asked him to help call for a rescue.
“I have reached out to the governor’s chief security officer and chief details, they said they would deploy people there immediately to see how they could help the situation,” the journalist said.
“Tinapa is being looted as I am talking to you. I am just close to the Tinapa junction. In fact, it has been looted dry,” he said.
On Friday, the mob broke into a warehouse where COVID-19 palliative were stored and looted bags of rice and other items, while soldiers stood by to watch, apparently because Governor Ben Ayade had issued an instruction that security officials should not shoot at anyone seen looting government warehouses.
The government-owned newspaper, The Nigerian Chronicle, has been vandalised and looted.
“The looting continues, they have moved from public facilities to private residence of politicians,” Mr Agban-ugbal.
“At 8 Miles, it is a war zone, there’s no military or police presence here. I drove all the way from Calabar South…. If the people stop you and you refuse to carry them in your vehicle to where they are currently ransacking, they will vandalise your vehicle,” he said.
“Yes, it is true,” said the police spokesperson in Cross River State, Irene Ugbo, when PREMIUM TIMES asked her if the situation in Calabar was “chaotic”.
Christian Ita, the spokesperson to Governor Ayade, told PREMIUM TIMES that the situation in Calabar is “very chaotic”.
The governor has repeatedly called on the people in the state shun violence, Mr Ita said.
A similar situation has been reported in Oyo State, South-West Nigeria, where hoodlums invaded the home of a senator from the state on Saturday.