The Akwa Ibom state government has described the statement by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Cross River state, Irene Ugbo that the recent looting of government and private properties in Calabar was the handiwork of Akwa Ibomites resident in the state.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information, Mr Ini Ememobong and made available to newsmen in Uyo.on Wednesday.
He described the allegation by such a high-ranking Police officer as ‘careless’ talk positing that if it is not properly managed could accentuate the aged long rift between the two fraternal states.
According to Ini who described the statement as untrue and misleading, averred it could be interpreted to mean that the hoodlums were mercenaries transported from Akwa Ibom to unleash the mayhem in Cross River state.
The statement read in part,”The grave allegation by the Police Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Police, Cross River State Command that the perpetrators of the dastardly acts of looting and arson that occurred in the Cross River State Capital, Calabar, came from Akwa Ibom is manifestly untrue and misleading.
“This State Government’s position was arrived at after a comprehensive review of existing evidence by security agencies in our state. It became clear that the attacks on public and private property in Calabar was not and could not have been carried out by people who were transported from our state for that purpose, as there was no such transportation of hoodlums by water, from our state to Cross River State, as claimed by some fake reports.
” There is a clear difference between an act committed by non-indigene residents and that committed by people who are visiting for the purpose of commiting crime. The statement by the PPRO paints a picture that the hoodlums left Akwa Ibom to Cross River to commit the crime-this is false as both Naval Ships and other security agencies within the jurisdiction can attest that there was no such movement.
“We are deeply concerned about such a careless statement by a Police Officer, as it has the capacity to create strife between the sister states. Moreover, we are also conscious that the now dreaded and globally condemned Xenophobia has its origin in such negative indiscretions.
“We hereby restate here and for the records that, no hoodlums were loaded and transported in boats from Akwa Ibom to Cross River State as claimed by some reports and that the people who wrecked the senseless carnage in Calabar, did not go from Akwa Ibom state to commit the crime”, the statement noted.