Residents of Mbak Etoi community in Uyo local government area of Akwa Ibom state are now living in serious phobia following incessant armed robbery incidents and attacks by cultists.
The inhabitants of the community situated in the outskirts of Uyo
metropolis lamented threats to their lives by hoodlums have forced them to abandon their homes to sleep in the bushes most nights.
Our correspondent, who visited the embattled community at the weekend, observed that business and economic activities in the sleepy village have also been crippled.
Shop owners said that they have lost count of the number of times they have robbed and extorted by cultists.
Some of the victims, who narrated their ordeals on the condition of anonymity for fear of further attacks, said the police from the Shelter Afrique Divisional Police Station Uyo have not done anything to help them.
A nursing mother, who owns a provision, said she was robbed inside her provision shop few days ago under gunpoint, adding that the hoodlums even threatened to shoot her three- month baby if did not give them money from her day’s sales.
Her words: “Armed robbers have been terrorizing us so much in this community. The first time they broke through my ceiling into my shop and packed all my properties.
“The second time they broke through the window. The third time they waylaid me on the road and collected money from me under 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 money from the day’s sales. I was terrified so I carried the money, which was in a carton and gave it to them.
“When they noticed that I had delayed in giving them the money they ordered me to drop my three months baby on the floor for them to shot but I refused to drop my baby. They now began to beat me up and so I handed over the money to them.
“They thereafter went into other shops around and started robbing them. They even stole fishes and other food items. I have been robbed five times in this shop. They have also been robbing people’s houses.”
Another victim 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 because throughout yesterday we were running away from the attacks with some of us hiding in the bushes.
“If we put distress calls to the police they will tell us that they have no petrol in their patrol vehicles. The police usually tell us to buy petrol for them before they come to our rescue.”
However, the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) in charge of the area, Mrs. Atim Eshiet told our correspondent that her men have been patrolling Mbak Etoi and other communities its coverage to checkmate criminal activities.
The DPO, who accompanied our correspondent to the community to assess the security situation, denied not having petrol in their patrol vehicles.
She promised to beef up security in the village and other areas,
assuring the situation would be brought under control