The Cross River State security outfit called Operation Akpakwu, Friday, demolished the Save Side Hotel located at 8th Miles, Calabar, following the arrest of a man they accused of being a kidnapper inside the hotel.
The government did not provide evidence to back up its claim against the hotel, but said, “The police have done their investigation, (and) all legal procedures were taken before this building was demolished”.
“It’s a lie. You know the government needs to cook their story the way they want it,” Saviour Omin, the owner of the Save Side Hotel, told PREMIUM TIMES, Saturday.
Mr Omin said he is a youth leader in the community where the hotel was. He said the community would not have elected him a youth leader if he were not of good character.
Besides, Mr Omin said, a hotel is a public place where the owner does not have the ability to know or control who comes in.
He said apart from the government pulling down his hotel, he was detained for five days at the police headquarters and was regularly beaten up.
“I don’t know what is really happening, I was thinking it was a joke until I went and saw that my hotel had been demolished.
“I don’t know what I have done against the Cross River State Government, I am an indigene of this place and a citizen (of Nigeria),” he said.
Mr Omin ruled out going to court to seek redress.
“I don’t have anything to do, but my knees are on the ground, I am praying to God Almighty. Who am I to fight the government? I don’t have money, I don’t have a father, and I don’t have a mother.”
Meanwhile, the Cross River government said it would continue to demolish other facilities suspected to harbour criminals in the state.
“The demolition exercise is an ongoing process, it is part of the activities of Operation Akpakwu that was set up to fight criminality in the state, especially kidnapping.
“The governor had warned landlords who are harbouring criminals to desist from doing so. Therefore, anybody found to be harbouring, abetting or aiding crime, must definitely be held responsible,” Henry Okokon, a security adviser to Governor Ben Ayade, said on Saturday.
Cross River, like most other states in Nigeria, has witnessed an increase in crimes like robbery, kidnapping, cultism and cult-related killings.
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