Essien Udim Council Chairman, Elder Raphael Isobara

… As Police Engage Criminal Gang

… Citizens call for expansive investigations

As the next round of Local Government council election approaches, tensions are beginning to rise as a possible bloodbath was on Wednesday averted at the Essien Udim Local Government Council Secretariat by a joint team of the Area’s Divisional Police and men of the Inspector General’s Special Task Force, when men of the underworld shifted their operations to the facility.

The Essien Udim Council Chairman, Elder Raphael Isobara got lucky as his planned early arrival to the Secretariat to receive some visitors apart from the daily official routine could not arrive as scheduled due to a delay by an engagement that involved Council Chairmen in the State while the ambush allegedly targeted at him were botched.

According to an anonymous source who witnessed the attack, the assailants arrived at the Council premises in an unmarked Toyota Sienna car and about three motorcycles around Ten O’clock in the morning as staff members of the Council and other visitors were arriving for the day’s official engagements.

Trouble started when security operatives attached to the Council Secretariat approached the suspected hoodlums to inquire about their mission and identity, but were rebuffed and resisted as the men asked to be left on their own and in the course of the ensuing altercation wielded guns and other weapons to repel the Council’s security.

Sensing danger due to the rising spate of violent crimes in the area in the last one month, other security outfits were notified which resulted in a shooting melee with the hoodlums, which lasted for almost an hour until they succumbed to the superior firepower of the police and fled; abandoning some of their guns, weapons and charms.

While it is reported that some of the hoodlums were arrested and taken to the State Police Headquarters, Ikot AkpanAbia, the State Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Nnudam Fredrick as at the time of filing this report said he was yet to be briefed on the incident.

Essien Udim Local Government Area, it would be recalled had been identified as a security flashpoint during the 2019 General elections, and the attack may not be unconnected with alleged plans by some people to make the place uncomfortable in their bid to stall the Council Boss’ decision to re-contest the forthcoming Local Government Elections.

Pundits observe that criminal elements have been on the loose in the area since the recently Peoples Democratic Party concluded Ward and Chapter congresses which saw key stakeholders of the area battle to maintain control of the party.

Meanwhile, some Essien Udim indigenes are calling for an expansive investigation into Wednesday’s attack at the Secretariat and other criminal activities in the area from the Police, to forestall further security breach and scare, promising their cooperation with the security apparatus to stamp out all forms of criminality from the area.