A day before the presidential election, a large number of armed soldiers have taken over Obudu Local Government Area of Cross River State, particularly the Obudu town where the state governor, Ben Ayade hails from.
They can be seen in strategic locations in complete battle gear and their Armoured personnel carriers.
Different other platoons are also stationed in other parts of Cross River North Senatorial District considered to be flashpoints of violence.
This is because the state governor is in the race against a sitting Senator Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe for the senatorial seat, and there has been tensions and fears owing to repeated attacks on individuals and their properties.
Armed gangs without masks were alleged to be driving about the Obudu town, shooting freely into the air in the last few weeks, intimidating the populace and electorates.
Two days ago, a gang of dreaded boys reportedly led by one Christian Ukpam Odey and Tom Adie, a.k.a. Tompolo, entirely vandalised the country home of the state chairman of the main opposition party, PDP, Venatius Ikem.
They destroyed everything and maimed one of the aides to Ikem.
In the last two weeks, other attacks were meted out to the chairman of the campaign committee in Obudu and dispersed their meeting.
A voter, Sam Are who arrived in the town yesterday published on his social media page,. “I got to Obudu this evening ahead of the presidential and National Assembly elections and I must say it is disappointing to see military presence descriptive and reminiscent only of a war zone! I have a foreboding that more evil looms!”
He said “Election is not war. We can belong to different ideological camps and still be brothers. Ambitions will come and go but your brothers will still be your brothers.”
Meanwhile, Captain Dorcas Aluko, assistant director, Army Public Relations issued a statement yesterday, saying: “In an effort to effectively carry out its constitutional mandate of providing support to civil authorities and working in synergy with the Nigeria Police (NP) to ensure protection of lives and property during the forthcoming 2023 elections, 13 Brigade Nigerian Army Nigerian Army has approved a Hotline to monitor and report any suspicious act or acts of violence by unscrupulous persons or group of persons capable of disrupting the peaceful conduct of the 2023 general election, as well as the conduct of troops deployed to provide security during the election in Cross Rivers State.”