Ekpat Akwa/Mkpat Enin Road Construction: Indigenes Decry Rising Criminal Attacks on Ikot Ebak Diversion Route
By Paulinus Nnah
Mkpat Enin Local Government Area indigenes have cried out over recent rising and incessant criminal activities by hoodlums meted out to the people of the area and other hapless road users traversing the route created as temporary diversion due to the impassable condition of the Mkpat Akwa/Mkpat Enin road which is undergoing construction.
Describing the issue as very worrisome, anonymous sources who spoke on the issue lamented that some criminal elements have cashed in on the delayed completion of the Ikot Ebak portion of the Ekpat Akwa/Mkpat Enin highway handled by a Chinese construction firm, CCECC, to mete out various physical attacks to unwary indigenes and other users of the diversion route.
The route, which they maintained was created by the authorities of the construction company as a detour for commuters and other road users when the firm began to seal off the road from passage on daily basis after close of work, was made to traverse interior communities to emerge at a farther end of the highway.
Criminal activities ranging from two cases of outright murder, robberies at gun point, to incidents of rapes and abductions have been carried out unmolested at odd hours of the day on the said route, reports say.
One of the murder victims was said to have fallen to the killers’ bullets as a result of his attempt to identify one of the criminals. He was said to have died at the spot with his body riddled with bullets.
Investigations have however revealed that Mkpat Enin Local Government Council Chairman, Hon. Aniekpon Ekpo, has, in the bid to work out measure to stem the menace, appealed to the top executive of the construction concern to make provision for passage way at the spot under construction for road users after their day’s work, while also charging the company on the need to speed up work on the road to avert further nefarious activities by criminal-minded elements in the area.
Following Hon. Ekpo’s appeal, according to sources, the construction firm pledged to hasten the execution of the construction work, while promising to make passage way available all through on the road under construction and close the alternative interior route for the safety of the people.
Meanwhile, as at the time of filing this report, checks have revealed that the interior passage route has been put back to use having been closed for about three days, though with some level of security, as the company has relapsed to completely cordoning the highway at the day’s close of activities, even as work has progressed to the Ikot Ebak Market spot.