By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
Female corpers were reportedly raped, Tuesday night, as their lodge, located along Udo Ekong Ekwere Street, off Information Drive, in Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, was attacked by gunmen.
It was gathered that the gunmen stormed the lodge by 1a.m, on a tricycle, aka Keke, carting away valuables including laptops, cell phones and cash.
Some of the corps members, who spoke with newsmen, yesterday, lamented that nobody came to their rescue during the attack, despite cries for help.
One of the corps members, who identified himself as Emeka Emmanuel, said: “They arrived on a tricycle, popularly called Keke, and immediately started operation.
“They beamed high intensity torchlight everywhere and pounded every door with heavy iron, and threatened to shoot us if we fail to cooperate.”
A female corper, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, while fighting back tears, said her phones, laptop and cash were forcefully taken away from her, after the hoodlums gained entrance into her room from the back door.
“You know, at that period of the night, most of us females used to sleep naked. So, the suddenness of the attack caught us unprepared.
“They beamed the torch through the windows and threatened to shoot if the door was not quickly opened,” she lamented.
“I’ve never heard of this anywhere in Nigeria, even in the North where insecurity is at the highest peak, that corpers could be deliberately targeted, raped and robbed by criminals, at gun point.
“Is it because we are not from Akwa Ibom that no one could hear our shouts and come to save us?” another female colleague, asked.
Mr. Nsikak Ibanga, a night guard at the State Secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, which is located opposite the corpers lodge, said: “I raised the alarm by hitting the supporting pillars holding the reconstructed NUJ auditorium.
“The sound reverberated across the whole area, but there was no response.”
Another neighbour, Bassey Offiong, said: “When I heard the attack and the outcry of the corpers, I quickly reached out to the Police at Ikot Akpanabia Command, which is very close here, but they arrived late, after the criminals had finished and left in their tricycle.”
Also, the Youth Leader of the area, Godwin Okpo, blamed incessant criminal activities around communities on the collapse of internal security, organised by the local residents.
“I used to go round from house-to-house to collect monetary contributions for the night vigilante group, to secure the area at night, but, suddenly, they started accusing me of embezzling their money. So, there was nothing I could do again.
“When I heard the incident late in the night, around 1a.m. this morning (yesterday), I moved to the place but, since I was alone, there was nothing I could do.
“I have told them (residents) that once it is midnight, they should off their generators, so we can hear what’s happening in the neighborhoods,” Okpo stressed.
When some newsmen contacted the Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Odiko MacDon, he said he was yet to be fully briefed on the incident.
“I don’t have any information about the incident, but I will find out and get across to you,” he said.