By: Frank Inyang
October 24, 2020 will ever remain indelible in the minds of those residing in Calabar and environs stretching to Bakassi through Akpabuyo local governments.
The claim that the incidents were fallouts from the October 20,2020 #ENDSARS Protests were faulted because federal government had conceded to the demands of those involved. To start with, the protesters did not carry the national flag nor sing national anthem while carrying out their actions.They burgled, burnt , looted, destroyed, killed and maimed. But did they know what they did?
Chief Gershom Bassey Snr (father of Senator Gershom Bassey) was one of the founding fathers of Cross River State. His house on White House Street/Mayne Avenue was once adjudged the cleanest in Calabar during the military era. It was torched, touched, looted, and damaged.
The Federal Psychiatric Hospital, Calabar built in 1903 by the colonial government was the first of its kind in Nigeria. It has played a great role in neuropsychiatric medicine over a century serving the whole of erstwhile Eastern Region. Yet, it was not spared as medical equipment, beddings, foodstuffs, laboratory materials, building materials, kitchenwares,etc and vehicles parked there were either looted or damaged.
Another health facility of reputable note, Lawrence Henshaw Infectious Hospital, noted for the diagnosis of Tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and of recent Covid-19 pandemic, was visited. Fridges containing blood samples of patients, beddings, equipment, cables connecting a serving mortuary was severed and disconnected not minding available corpses, wheelchairs and stretchers were carted away.
A private owned shop noted for the sales and repairs of phones, Ibedmor, as well as a private owned supermarket, Valuemart youwere not spared. Great harm was done as these sweats of individuals amongst others were cleaned. So it was with Access Bank and First Bank both on Mayne Avenue and First Bank 8 miles. Safes were either destroyed or carted away while cash was stolen out rightly.
Bakassi Local Government Area headquarters, which on September 9,2020 made history as the first Smart Local Government Area in Nigeria, was reduced to nothing as all the gadgets both electronic and internet were either destroyed or looted. The office which was given a new look was reduced to rubbles.
Furniture, windows, window panes, doors and door frames were pulled out and taken home. So it was with the newly installed electrical appliances. The arsonists didn’t spare health centres, schools nor a hospitality home owned by the Paramount Ruler. So it was with Calabar South Local Government Area headquarters and Akpabuyo Local Government Area headquarters.
They were other unexplained incidents across the length and breadth of Calabar metropolis and now that the storm is over, it is a period of stock taking Some looters have come to their senses that some of the looted items are of no importance to them. Such items now litter the streets meaning they are of no value to them.
This explains the hopelessness in the whole exercises , so if only they knew.
It is now time for Rehabilitation, Reconstruction and Reconciliation as much harm has been done.
Frank Inyang is Chief Press Secretary to Bakassi LGA