All Progressives Congress (APC) gubernatorial candidate in Akwa Ibom State Obong Akan Udofia has condemned the theft of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) members from Corpers’ Lodge on Udo Ekong Ekwere Road in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and said the incident was an insidious incident that should never happen again.
In a statement signed by himself and made available to reporters on Saturday, Udofia said it was regrettable that innocent young men and women who came to Akwa Ibom State to serve their homeland, without any reprieve and despite being exposed to such a heartbreaking experience, living their despair cries out for help. While showing pity for the victims, Udofia urged state security agencies to map protections for corps members, saying it was an act of sabotage to force people who left their various home states to come to Akwa Ibom to serve their homeland, left at the mercy of crooks.
In his opinion, members of the Corps should not go through such painful experiences, especially since it would worry parents who allow their children to serve in other parts of the country. He said: “The impact of thefts on members of the Corps and other members of society carrying out their legitimate duties is legion and should be of concern to any well-meaning government.
“Internal state security needs to be improved to ensure that incidents like the invasion of the Uyo Corpers Lodge do not happen again.
“The usual discussions about security issues don’t help. Deliberate efforts must be made to protect the lives and property of the people of the state.
Udofia called on security authorities to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are arrested and held accountable.
Reports say Female corpers were reportedly raped on Tuesday night when their shack on Udo Ekong Ekwere Street near Information Drive, Uyo Gunmen were found to storm the lodge at 1am on a tricycle, also known as Keke, and took away valuables, including laptops, cell phones, and cash.
Some members of the corps, who spoke to reporters, complained that no one came to their aid during the attack, despite cries for help.
One of the corps members, who identified herself as Emeka Emmanuel, said: “They arrived on a tricycle, popularly called Keke, and immediately began to operate.
“They were beaming high-intensity torchlight everywhere and slamming every door with heavy iron and threatening to shoot us if we don’t cooperate.”
A female corper, who also spoke on condition of anonymity as she tried to hold back her tears, said her phones, laptops, and money were forcibly taken from her after mobsters entered her room through the door “You know, at that time of night, most of us women slept naked. So the sudden attack surprised us that we were not prepared.
“They beamed the flashlight through the windows and threatened to fire if the door was not opened quickly,” she complained.
“I have never heard of this in Nigeria, not even in the north, where insecurity is greatest, that corpers can be deliberately targeted, raped, and robbed by criminals.
“Is it because we are not from Akwa Ibom that no one could hear our screams and came to save us?” another colleague asked.
Mr. Nsikak Ibanga, a night watchman at the Secretariat of State of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, who stands in front of the body lodge, said: “I sounded the alarm by hitting the supporting pillars that hold up the NUJ auditorium. “The sound echoed throughout the area, but there was no response.”
Another neighbour, Bassey Offiong, said: “When I heard the attack and the screams of the corpers, I quickly contacted the police from Ikot Akpanabia command, which is very close, but they arrived late after that the criminals had finished and left in their tricycle.”
The Youth Leader of the area, Godwin Okpo, also blamed the collapse of internal security on the ongoing criminal activity in the communities, orchestrated by local residents.
“I used to go house to house to raise money for the night guard to secure the area at night, but suddenly they started accusing me of embezzling their money. So I couldn’t do anything anymore.
“When I heard about the incident late at night I moved there but as I was alone there was nothing I could do.
“I told them (local residents) to turn off their generators after midnight so we can hear what’s going on in the neighborhood,” Okpo said. When a number of reporters contacted the police public relations officer, Mr. Odiko MacDon, he said he was not yet fully aware of the incident.
“I have no information on the incident, but I will look into it and get back to you,” he said.