BY: VITALIS UGOH, Calabar
Worried by the magnitude and level of destruction and arson in both public and private properties in the ancient city of Calabar by hoodlums during the EndSars protests, the Senate in its wisdom has directed one of its standing committees to investigate the remote causes with a view to compensate those affected.
It is still a mystery to unraval the wanton destruction of lives and properties in the ancient city of Calabar during the EndSars protests of October 23 and 24, 2020.
Calabar, the ancient city and its environs can never be the same again as hoodlums capitalised on the protest and destroyed personal and public properties as well as historical artifacts.
A statement made available to newsmen in Calabar, the Senator representing Cross River South Senatorial district in the Senate, Señator Gershom Bassey said the senate ordered for the investigation following a motion he raised on the floor of the Red Chambers concerning the destruction and mayhem.
He said the motion was co-sponsored by Senator Clifford Ordia (Edo Central), Stella Oduah Adaeze (Anambra North), Betty Apiafi (Rivers West), Akon Eyakenyi (Akwa Ibom), Kabiru Barkiya (Katsina State) and six others.
Said he, the Senate“mandated the Committee on National Security and Intelligence, Defence, Police Affairs, Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal matters to investigate the invasion of the ancient city of Calabar on the 24th day of October, 2020”.
Presenting the motion on the floor of the Red Chambers, Bassey told the senate that “on the 23rd day of October, 2020, a large crowd masquerading as EndSARS protesters invaded and looted the Cross River State Covid-19 Palliative warehouse located at Bishop Moinagh street in Calabar, Cross River state”.
“As a result of the invasion of the Covid19 Palliative warehouse, the Cross River state government imposed a 24 hours curfew in Calabar that started from 6pm on the same 23rd October to avert further breakdown of law and order”.
“Despite the 24 hour curfew, a group of vandals on the next day being 24th October invaded over 120 properties in Calabar and vandalized, looted, burnt down some high value properties belonging to individuals, state and Federal governments, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) office, West African Examination Council (WAEC) office, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) office, the brand new state of the Art Calabar International Convention Centre(lCC) and the sprawling Tinapa Business Resort.
Others include, “the State owned Newspaper Corporation (Nigerian Chronicle Stables),the Federal Neuro Psychiatric Hospital, the Infectious Diseases Hospital amongst many others and private residence mostly of past and present Federal lawmakers were vandalized, looted or burnt”.
He said “I was convinced that the mayhem of 24th October was an invasion of the Sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It was premeditated, selective and targeted at highly valued Federal and state government infrastructures and Federal lawmakers. That the intervention of the military bases and security installations like the 13 Amphibious Brigade in Calabar, Eastern Naval Command in Calabar, NNS Victory in Calabar, 207 Special Mobility Air Force Unit in Calabar and Zone 6 Police Command in Calabar prevented the mayhem from spreading”.
In furtherance to his motion, he submitted that “Cross River State being a predominantly civil service state may not overcome the effects of the invasion since the hoodlums destroyed state infrastructures were built from lean state resources over years”, hence the Senate condemned the attack on private and public properties in Calabar and its environ on October 23 and 24 the, 2020″.
He therefore urged the Federal government “to assist in the reconstruction, rehabilitation and repair of properties and infrastructures that were destroyed and burnt during the invasion”.