A notorious kidnap kingpin, Umoh Ekanem a.k.a Ewankolo and 14 criminal suspects have been arrested by a Cross River State joint security outfit, Operation Akpakwu in Calabar.
Newsdotafrica learned that the crackdown against criminal hideouts occurred on Monday (August 7) in the Calabar metropolis.
Ewankolo was arrested at his hideout along Murray Street in Calabar South Local Government Area.
According to a source, some of the suspects confessed to the crime and pleaded for mercy.
Recall that on Thursday (August 3), Barr. Ekpenyong Akiba, an aide to Governor Bassey Otu led the crack team (Operation Akpakwu) to smash criminal hideouts from different locations within the State Capital.
Among the criminal hideouts were the operational base of illicit drug peddlers, kidnappers’ den, illegal scrap metal operators, brothels etc.
“Apart from defacing the beauty of the State, some of these illegal scrap operators use their operational base as hideouts for criminal elements in the state where illegal weapons and other dangerous items are stored. As a government, what we are saying is that if you must do your business, then you must do it legitimately.
“Government wants to know who is doing what while they also know government and who to contact. We will not allow a situation where just anyone would be allowed to do any business without the knowledge of the government,” Akiba said while addressing newsmen at Mayne Avenue.
Akiba added that: “This exercise has become important to buttress the governor’s determination in combating criminal activities in the state.
“Don’t forget that upon swearing in, the governor had extended an olive branch to criminals who are willing to embrace the amnesty opportunity in the state to take the window and repent of their ways with an alternative to those not willing to exit the State”.
He noted further that the governor has been patient enough, insisting that the state government was determined to ensure that all criminal elements are completely taken off the state.
He assured that those arrested will be thoroughly investigated and those found culpable, prosecuted to serve as a lesson for others.