Over 500 jerrycans of petroleum products were set ablaze in Esuk Otu creek in Calabar Municipality, Cross River State last Saturday during a raid by security personnel led by the state Acting Governor, Mr. Efiok Cobham. The jerrycans laden with petroleum products and pumping machines were stacked in a barge, waiting to be transported to the state capital before it was intercepted and destroyed at the creek.
Fielding question from newsmen at the scene of the operation, Mr. Efiok maintained that it was unfortunate that despite effort made by government to discourage Nigerians from such illegal activities, they were still embarking on such activities, which were inimical to economic development of the country. “It’s very unfortunate because this crime against the economy. It’s pure sabotage and this is not what we should engage in this critical period of political history,” the governor stressed.
“It’s a major economic crime and we are making a statement that anybody who is involve in this act in any part of the state will have their illegal products destroyed. “It is in line with the directive of the Federal Government and policy of the government of Cross River State that we sustain the zero tolerance to criminal activities.” Mr. Cobham further stated. While commending the security operatives for living up to their expectations, he promised to ensure that they were provided with the necessary support to further beef up security along the waterways, adding that the operation would serve as a deterrent to others who might see the state as safe haven.
State Security Adviser, Mr. Rekpene Bassey, said: “The exercise should serve as a warning to members of the criminal gangs that Cross River is not a place for their business, we say no to illegal bunkering.” He urged the operator of the illegal business to, in their own interest relocate because the state could not allow such an illegal operation, adding that all the security operatives had been fully mobilized and put on red alert to fight and chase them out of the state permanently.