…as motorists, commuters remain stranded at the head bridge
…today is our big market day, we have perishable items … trader’s lament
By Ike Uchechukwu,Calabar
Economic activities and all movements were on Friday disrupted by security operatives “Operation Akpakwu” at the head bridge along Atimbo -Akpabuyo axis.
Vanguard learned this was coming on the heels of the killing of four policemen by gunmen around Etap Ayip axis of MCC -Idungdung road on Thursday.
The security operations which started at about 9:am Friday was carried out by a combined team of the Military, Police and the Civil Defense in Cross River State disrupted business and social activities in two Local Government Areas in the state.
Vanguard gathered that commuters and pedestrians movement was halted along the Atimbo Bridge which is the major entry route by road into the two local government councils.
Although the major objective of operation by the team was not immediately known hundreds of vehicles and individuals were all blocked from either entering or exiting the area.
When Vanguard correspondent visited the place an unmarked Hilux was used to block the road at the Atimbo Bridge axis by Akpabuyo entrance point with heavy security presence with heavy “hardware” were sighted.
Also, Bakassi local government is after Akpabuyo going by road through the Atimbo bridge so there was no access into both LGAs as at press time.
Some of the vehicles trapped in the long queue caused gridlock including some trucks from Lafarge- Holcem company carrying cement products and commercial vehicles conveying Market women and other traders who were going to Ikang Market in Bakassi and other places with the area were also trapped on the bridge and beyond.
Some parents and guardians who were on their way to carry their children for a mid-term break at a boarding school located in Akpabuyo were also trapped in the blockade.
One of such persons was a woman with several cartons of iced including Titus who pleading for passage so that the ice on the fishes will not defrost before she gets to the market but was ordered to leave the place by hooded security operatives as they chased pedestrians away from the entrance into Akpabuyo.
Only a few vehicles of the security personnel were allowed passage from when the operation started till about 12:30 when our correspondent left the scene, even though the blockade was still in place and the queue grew longer.
When contacted, the state Security Adviser (South) to the Governor, Mr Henry Okokon did not disclose the level of the security operation that warranted the road blockade for hours and disrupting major economic activities.
Okokon gave an idea that the operations may not be unconnected to the incident that happened on Thursday ( Killing of four policemen) at a security checkpoint by gunmen.
He said: “You know about the incident that happened yesterday before Idundu Bridge. Even though I am not on the ground I believe the security operatives have their strategies. Secondly, the Security Chiefs are aware and in charge of the operations.
” Until I am on the ground I can’t give you further detail but I believe it’s a security strategy,” he said.