By Ike Uchechukwu – Calabar
Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade on Monday came hard on criminals, as he began another phase of demolition of properties belonging to suspected kidnappers within the Calabar Metropolis.
The exercise was part of the governor’s warning last year during the launch of a crack security outfit code-named Operation Akpakwu in December.
Gov Ayade had warned that any house harbouring criminals including kidnappers, child traffickers would be demolished and the exercise started last year in Calabar with over 15 houses demolished so far
Speaking with Vanguard on Monday shortly after the demolition of five houses, State Security Adviser (Southern Senatorial district) to Governor Ayade, Henry Okokon said the exercise was in fulfilment of the warning by the governor to criminals to either change or leave the state.
Okokon said governor Ayade had earlier warned landlords who were harbouring criminals to either quit them or face the full wrath of the law which included demolition of their property.
According to him, the demolition exercise which was a continuous process was to serve as a deterrent to both landlords and criminals that Calabar and Cross River as a whole was no longer a safe haven for any criminal.
Speaking further he said five houses including a flat, 2 twin duplexes, and a brothel were among some of the properties belonging to high profile Kidnap suspects and a child trafficker who specializes in using underaged kids for prostitution.
His words: “This is part of the activities of Operation Akpakwu, a special force set up by Gov Ayade to fight crime especially kidnapping. When we get intelligence, we process it and take decisive action, it is no longer business as usual as the governor warned that they either leave or rot in jail.
Vanguard learned that some of the demolished houses belonged to kidnap suspects who have been declared wanted by security agencies as well as the Cross River State government.