Mbak Etoi community in Uyo local government area, Akwa Ibom state, has been terrorized for some time now by armed bandits, and as a result, fear has gripped residents of this community in the state following incessant armed robbery and attacks by cultists within the area.
Indigenes of the area, which is in the outskirts of Uyo metropolis are expressing worries that threats to their lives by these hoodlums had forced many of them to abandon their home to sleep in the bush most of the nights
Visiting the area of the incident by newsmen, the observation was that the social and economic activities in the community were actually grounded.
Shop owners, who spoke with newsmen, said that they have lost count of the number of times they had been robbed and extorted by these hoodlums.
Many of the victims, who narrated their ordeals on the ground of anonymity for fear of further attacks by the hoodlums, lamented that they had been left at the mercy of God, saying that the police from the Shelter Afrique Divisional Police Station in Uyo have not actually done anything in order to rescue them from the incessant attacks.
“Armed robbers have been terrorizing us for so long, that we are now just helpless. The first time they broke through the ceiling into my shop and packed all good in the shop. The second time they came in through the window. The third time they waylaid me on the road and stole my money at gunpoint.
“The fourth time, they were even more heavily armed and came in large numbers. Two of the armed robbers entered my shop and requested for the money from the day’s sales. I was terrified that I carried all the money I had saved, which I had planned to re-stock my shop with, I gave it to them.
“But before I gave the money to them, they noticed that I had delayed in giving them the money and ordered me to drop my three months baby on the floor for them to shoot but I refused to drop my baby. They now began to beat me up and so I decided to hand over the money to them.
“From my shop, they went into other shops around and robbed them too. They even stole fish and other food items. I have been robbed five times in this shop. They have also been robbing people’s houses,” a nursing mother from the area narrated, and one shop attendant.
Another victim, who also spoke on the ground of anonymity for fear of attack, said: “I want the government and the police to ensure that armed robbery attacks end in Mbak Etoi. We don’t sleep well at night any longer. Throughout yesterday, we were running into the bush to hide. This was at night.
“If we put distress calls to the police, they will tell us that they don’t have petrol in their vehicles. The police usually tell us to buy petrol for them before they come to our rescue.”
Meanwhile, the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in charge of the area, one Mrs. Atim Eshiet said that her officers and men are always patrolling Mbak Etoi and other communities to checkmate criminal activities.
The DPO, who also went to the community to assess the security situation, denied the claim of not having police patrol in the area and promised to beef up security in the area to ensure that the situation was brought under control.