By Chioma Onuegbu Uyo
Rampaging gunmen in Akwa Ibom State have again attacked a police Divisional station Utu Etim Ekpo, in Etim Ekpo local government area killed a policeman identified as Edogi Bassey while on duty, and set ablaze the station.
It was gathered that the incident occurred about 6:30 on Wednesday, allegedly perpetrated by suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB).
A source from Essien Udim local government area disclosed that the hoodlums also attacked and vandalised the Godswill Akpabio Unity Hall in Afaha Ikot Ebak, the local government headquarters during the attack.
It could be recalled that the Unity Hall, was built by the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs Senator Godswill Akpabio when he was the governor of Akwa Ibom state.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the State, Mr. Odiko Macdon, who confirmed the Etim Ekpo incident in a statement made available to newsmen on Wednesday in Uyo, noted that the unacceptable, worrisome trend which is being addressed by the Police hierarchy requires the cooperation and support of all citizens and residents of the state.
MacDon stated, “At about 6:30 am today, (Wednesday) armed Men, in their numbers, armed with AK-47 rifles and other dangerous weapons, in two vehicles attacked the rented building housing the Etim Ekpo Area command and Division.
“The undaunted and vigilant police officers on duty gallantly fought back, repelled them, and averted the intended carnage. Unfortunately, a dedicated officer, one PC Edogi Bassey paid the supreme price while a small portion of the building was torched.
“The gunmen who proceeded to Ika Division to perpetuate their nefarious activities were successfully again repelled leaving the Station intact without loss of lives or arms.
“The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Andrew Amiengheme who is going round formations and Divisions to ensure alertness and safety of Officers, Men and the People has called on law-abiding Citizens to volunteer timely information that will enable the Police to tackle the present security challenges. This time shall pass”
The fresh attack is even coming on the heels of the review of the 10 pm to 6 am restriction on the use of motorcycles in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district, by the state government.
Governor Udom Emmanuel had on Tuesday night in a statement signed by the Secretary to State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem issued a directive prohibiting the use of all types of motorcycles from 6 pm till 6 am with immediate effect.
The latest killing has brought the total number of slain police personnel in Akwa Ibom from February 22, 2021, by the gunmen to twenty-two.
It could be recalled that the CP, Amiengheme had on Monday during the Governor’s visit to condole the command over the loss of its officers and destruction of assets, disclosed that twenty-one (21) officers of the command have so far died in the persistent attacks.