By Emma Una – Calabar
The homes of National Assembly members in Cross River State came under severe attack on Saturday, October 2020 with property worth billions naira vandalized, looted, or set ablaze.
The hoodlums who hijacked the EndSARS protest in the city invaded the homes of Senator Gershom Bassey, representing the Southern Senatorial District, Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, former Senate Leader, Senator Basey Ewa, who represented the southern Senatorial district in the 5th h Senate, Hon Essien Ayi, the member representing Akpabuyo/Bakassi/ Calabar South Federal C0nstituemcy in the House of Representatives, and even the present governor of the state, Senator Bem Ayade was not spared as filling station said to be his was set ablaze.
The thugs armed with machetes and guns first looted and set the house of the father of Senator Gershom Bassey located on Mayne Avenue /White House in Calabar South from there they marched to his personal house located at Akai Effa and looted the expansive place of everything with some carting away his belongings including chairs, computers, television sets, and fridges.
Close to Senator Grershom Bassey’s house is the palatial edifice of Senator Victor Ndoma Egba, who represented the Central Senatorial District of the state and functioned as Senate Leader in the 7th Senate. They stripped the house bare of furniture, books, boxes, television sets, and other personal belongings.
From there they moved to the home of Mr Essien Ayi located about six kilometres away and attacked the place. The place was vandaalised and stripped bare of its property and from there they moved to the home of Senator Bassey Ewa who among the lot was at home when the incident occurred. He made several save-our-soul calls to the police and security agencies but help could not come his way. His home was also cannibalized and from there the hooligans moved several kilometers uptown to the filling station reportedly belonging to the state governor of the state and set it on fire. Before the Saturday looting and burning, Value Mart owned by Mrs Obioma Imoke, wife of Senator Liyel Imoke had on Friday night been cannibalised along with several other places including Neuro, psychiatric Hospital, University of Calabar, Nigerian Chronicle, NTA, Calabar, First Bank 8 Miles, Access Bank Mayne Avenue, etc.
From there they moved to the multi billion naira International Conference Center and Tinapa looted the places of their exotic furniture and electrical appliances.
None of the National Assembly members has officially reacted to the looting and damage inflicted in their homes but the Inter-Party Advisory Council, IPAC, has condemned the widespread looting.
Mr Paddy Ally, the state Chairman of IPAC in a statement on Sunday made available to Vanguard said the widespread destruction and looting was one of the worst man-inflicted – disasters witnessed in the state.
Ali who passed a vote of no confidence in the State governor, Senator Ben Ayade, and lauded him on his directives to the local government chairmen in the state and civil service commission to employ twenty thousand youths immediately.
“IPAC, an umbrella association of all political parties strongly supports this commendable and people-oriented thought out an initiative which is aimed at alleviating poverty as well as cushioning the spiral negative effect occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic in our state”.
Ally called on religious bodies, community-based organisations, women, and youth groups to support the governor’s initiative rather than engage in vandalisation and looting of property.
“The twenty thousand employment opportunities for our youths would obviously have its multiplier effect on the economy therefore the Chairmen of the eighteen local government areas and Civil Service Commission should key into this laudable vision by the governor”.
Governor directives for security agents to search houses for looted items is to take legitimate action to halt further violence.
The governor also wants the arrest of everyone involved in the looting of both public and private property in the state.
A statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Mr Christian Ita, the Governor said he “understands the pain of the people but there was a need to protect the collective commonwealth of the people which is currently under threat by some persons who are desperately trying to discredit the peaceful disposition of Cross Riverians’
He urged the security agencies to take legitimate actions to ensure that calm returns to the State especially as the Government was already working towards ensuring the demands of those who genuinely participated in the #EndSARS march are met.