Police, youths trade blame over extra-judicial killings in Akwa Ibom

Worried by frequent cases of extra-judicial killings of suspected criminals in a couple of months, the Akwa Ibom State Police Command has warned angry youths against taking the laws into their hands by lynching the suspects.

This followed the arrest and instant setting ablaze of two armed gunmen by angry youths after a failed bid to rob a Point of Sale (POS) attendant of N300,000 at Ikot Oku Ikono, Abak road in Uyo Local Government Area on Thursday.

Therefore, the Commissioner of Police (CP), Mr Amiengheme Andrew, in a statement on his behalf by the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr Odiko Macdon, at the weekend, condemned the act, saying it was unlawful and a travesty of justice.

“Such acts are a travesty of justice, capable of undermining public order and are totally unacceptable as it has no place in our criminal justice administration,” the CP said, adding that the rights to life and fair hearing remain the inalienable rights of all including suspected criminals.

He listed other extra-judicial killings in the state in recent times to include the lynching of a nursing mother at Okpokpo market on the outskirt of Uyo, over allegations of missing N2,000 and the killing of a suspected electric cable vandal around Ebong Essien by Ikpa road.

“These trends are totally unacceptable and the perpetrators of such acts should be apprehended and made to face justice,” the CP ordered.

But in a swift reaction, some youths, who have formed themselves into vigilance groups along Ikpa road, Urua Ekpa, Ibiam and other adjoining streets on the metropolis, told newsmen that their resort to jungle justice stemmed from alleged compromise by Police operatives in the state.

Speaking to newsmen, the leader of the group, who would not want his name mentioned, accused the Police of not living up to expectations in societal policing.

“Because of the fact Police appear to have compromised on their job of effective policing, we have to take the laws into our hands and administer justice that would not allow us to sleep.

“The whole of Ikpa road, Urua Ekpa, Idak Okpo and Afaha Oku, as a whole are the adjoining communities to the University of Uyo, with large student population residing there.

“Cases of rape of students going to night classes including stealing of laptops, phones, cash and other personal belongings are very rampant here. And each time we call the Police, they would arrive soon after the crime had been committed.

“Some other time, when cases of bugling students’ homes occur and we call the Police, they come blowing their siren for the criminals to escape.

“In many cases, we would apprehend the suspects and handed them over to the Police, but a few days after, the same criminals would be seen walking free on the street and perpetuating the same crimes.

“The youths’ leader of Urua Ekpa axis of Itam in Itu Local Government Area, Comrade Edet, was shot dead by criminals recently, but up till now, nothing had been heard in that aspect. So, that is why we had to organize ourselves to protect the society.”

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