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By Harris Emanuel

Nemesis on Wednesday caught up with two hoodlums said to be specializing in robbing Point of Sale (POS) operators and other soft targets in the Uyo metropolis as angry youths overpowered and set them ablaze.

The charred remains of the suspected thieves were still smoldering and sending thick smoke into the air when our Correspondent visited the scene of the incident.

It was gathered that the incident occurred at about 10:30 am, when two robbers on motorcycle tried to overpower a PoS attendant, while dispensing cash to customers at Ikot Oku Ikono, near the newly commissioned fly-over bridge, on the outskirt of Uyo, the state capital.

An eyewitness Nyenime Effiong, a tricycle operator told newsmen that the suspects ran out of luck, when the alarm raised by the PoS attendant attracted angry youths, who pounded on them and immediately set fire on them before the arrival of Police operatives.

“They thought their operation would be swift, but it turned to be end-of-the-road for them. They arrived on motorcycle and the one on the passenger seat alighted and suddenly accosted the PoS operator with a gun and demanded for cash.

“She immediately screamed at the sight of gun, but in a swift reaction, some commercial minibus and tricycle drivers with other angry youths trooped to the scene, chased the thieves to where they were overpowered.

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“Before the motorcycle rider, who was still steaming the bike while waiting for his fellow accomplice to get the cash from the attendant could escape, he was apprehended before he could speed away”, he explained.

The criminals, who perpetrate their nefarious activities using motorcycles, according to some vigilant youths, “are also in the habits of targeting pump attendants at filling stations and supermarkets on the metropolis”.

Worried by the new wave of crimes hitting some soft targets as the yuletide approaches, the youths, according to Effiong Bassey, have formed some vigilante groups in some crime-prone streets on the capital. including Ibiam, Atiku Abubakar, Ikpa road, Urua Ekpa, Ikot Oku Ubo and other adjoining streets.

Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Odiko Macdon, a Superintendent of Police condemned the act saying that jungle justice has no place in criminal justice administration.

He said, “The proper thing should have been for them to be apprehended and handed over to the police. But they took the law into their hand. An innocent person might be killed, lynched or wounded. So the best thing is to hand the person to the police.

“You cannot be the complainant, the police, the prosecutor, the judge in a matter of such nature. It’s becoming rampant and unacceptable. The Commission of Police is miffed by such development and he has said that henceforth such act will not be tolerated.”

Vanguard News Nigeria

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