CrimeDefence & Security

Robbers invade NYSC lodge, female victim alleges rape in A’Ibom

... As coordinator refutes rape rumour of corps members

By Isaac Job

Armed robbers have invaded the residence of Corps members along Udo Ekong Ekwere Street, off Information Drive and dispossessed them of their valuables, The Trumpet gathered.

The incident occurred on Wednesday night as the robbers stormed the area by 1 am in a tricycle ransacking all the rooms where 21 youth corps members lodged in Uyo.

An eyewitness in the neighborhood who pleaded anonymity said items carted away include laptops, cell phones, and an undisclosed amount of money.

Some of the corps members who spoke with The Trumpet on Thursday morning lamented that there was no help in sight during the attack despite their cry 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 pounced on every door with heavy iron and threatened to shoot us if we failed to cooperate.”

A female Corps member, 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 time of the night, most of us females, we used to sleep naked and the suddenness of the attack caught us unprepared. They beamed the torch through the window and threatened to shoot if the door was not quickly opened,” she explained.

Another female Corps member alleged rape while saying targeting serving Corpers was totally out of place and unheard.

“I have 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 gunpoint. Is it because we are not from Akwa Ibom that no one could hear our shouts and come to save us?”, she lamented.

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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 alarm by hitting the supporting pillars holding the reconstructed NUJ auditorium,” but “the sound reverberated across the whole area but 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 a little late after the criminals had finished and left with their tricycle.”

Also, the Youth Leader of the area, Comrade Godwin Okpo, blamed incessant criminal activities around communities on the collapse of internal security organized 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,” he said.

Meanwhile, the State’s Coordinator of the National Youth Service Scheme in Akwa Ibom, Mrs Ekwe Chinyere has debunked rumours making the rounds across the country that female Corps members were raped during the operations.

According to a statement issued and make available to newsmen in Uyo on Thursday, Mrs Ekwe in the company of the Commissioner of Police, Olatoye Durosinmi visited the Corps members’ lodge for an on-the-spot assessment, adding that no Corps member was raped.

“While there, it was confirmed that 21 Corps members occupy the said property. The interaction with the Corps members further revealed that an attack on them was actually carried out by thieves at about 1 am this morning,” the statement said.

The statement, however, confirmed that the invaders took valuables including phones, laptops, and some cash during the operations adding that no bodily harm was meted on the victims.

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