By Efio-Ita Nyok
Calabar, Nigeria’s epitome of tranquility and hospitality is beginning to evolve into a capital city with an unprecedented security challenge.
It was A. Appadorai who in his Substance of Politics opined that the essence of politics is to curb the excesses of selfishness in its sundry dimensions. Accordingly, my reader would readily agree with me that the measure to which any society approximate the above ideal determines to what extent that society would be labelled developed or otherwise.
Nigeria, at least from modest perspectives, could be construed to be a democracy; and Cross River State including its ancient capital city -Calabar cannot be denied participation in this construance.
Calabar is home to basically three ethnic groups, to wit, the Efiks, Quas, and the Efuts. And tradition has it that these ethnicities are reputed for peace and social harmony so much so that this city plays host to the entire country as citizens from other geopolitical regions resort to this city for recreation. That is to say, Calabar is Nigeria’s number one recreational city. She is the acclaimed hostess of Nigeria!
But alas my dear reader because the trend of the tide has changed course!
Permit me to bring to your notice that a set of miscreants, referred to as Scolombo, whose age-bracket range from 14 – 18 have decided to take a walk to town in a most terrifying way. They are challenging the very fabric of the ancient city. The sui generis tranquillity and hospitability of Calabar is seriously under contest!
Scolombo, to my mind, is the teen sect of the notorious ‘Calabar South Boys’ phenomenon. They are evidently juvenile delinquents. They are said to be trained in the art of theft and street robbery by their senior counterpart called in our local dialect, Ekpad.
Ekpad are the notorious cult group referred to as Baggers whose motto goes thus: ‘loot but don’t be caught’. They collect mobile phones and other electronic gadgets from responsible citizens, and unleash terror as they move as well. One of their operational base is Atekong Street at Marian, Calabar. But their main base is in Calabar South.
Yesterday, Saturday 10 January 2015 their itinerary took them to Webber Street and adjoining streets, where they decided to express their trade-in-stock. As they approach you, they aver: ‘cooperate and surrender!’. If one fails to align with that order, then you will be maimed.
Earlier last week, they were said to have invaded the central Watt Market, which is directly opposite a police station. In fact, the police officers all deserted their station. What a shame!
The trend of armed robbery also has scaled up! Churches are inundated with testimonies of miraculous deliverances from men of the under world. Today, after a testimony of such deliverance, the moderating pastor asked the congregation to stand to their feet as they pray against robbers and Scolombo.
To tell you the truth, while I stood to pray, I remembered that Calabar is the capital city of this state and has institutions to address this palava. Why have the political class refused to attend to this challenge? Is Gov. Liyel Imoke also clueless? Or, is he still sleeping? What is the six hundred naira million naira security monthly vote doing in government coffers? What is the Department of State Security (DSS) doing? Will they tell us that they are not aware of this recent security trend? How long will it take them to come up with intelligence on this terrifying lads? What is the police doing? Why was the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps(NSCDC) created? Is Scolombo not part of their brief? They are numerous cases of armed robbery in Calabar. And the government is insensitive. For your information they will rob tonight.
How long will it take the security machine/infrastructure of Cross River State, including the office of the governor, to realise that Calabar, the state capital, is under siege!?
Why is politics not managing the excesses of selfishness of a designated lot of society at least in Calabar? Why is government not utilising that distinctive paraphernalia, Force, we bequeathed to them against offenders? Must they always use our security infrastructure to intimidate the innocent taxpayer? Why don’t they use it on Scolombo? Why, Liyel Imoke this quality of insensitivity and passiveness in public office!? The earlier we act, the better for Calabar.
Long live Calabar!
Long live Cross River State!
Long live Cross River State!