“Operation Okpakwu”, a Cross River State Government security outfit, has destroyed a hotel that reportedly served as a hideout for suspected kidnappers.
The ‘Save side hotel’ which is located at 8 Miles area in Calabar Municipality was said to be harbouring a notorious kidnapper identified simply as “Kingsley” and his syndicate, who have been terrorising the state.
Speaking shortly after the demolition exercise on Saturday, January 23, Mr Henry Okokon, the State Security Adviser, to Governor Ben Ayade, alleged that most of the kidnap and robbery cases that were carried out by the late Kingsley were planned and coordinated from the said hotel.
According to Okokon, the Homeland Security bill which was signed into law by Governor Ayade clearly has it that “anybody who aids, abets and harbours a criminal is also guilty of the crime.”
“The demolition exercise is an ongoing process, it is part of the activities of Operation Akpakwu that was set up to fight criminality in the state, especially kidnapping. The governor had warned landlords who are harbouring criminals to desist from doing so. Therefore, anybody found to be harbouring, abetting, or aiding crime, must definitely be held responsible,” said Okokon.
“This hotel is one of the buildings that have been harbouring criminals and the government has decided to bring it down.”
He issued a warning to landlords and hotel owners to always do a thorough background check of their guests and tenants before handing them accommodation spaces.
“This is a warning signal to all, and I think everybody should be aware of this. The general public should be aware that security is everyone’s business. I want to state that all legal procedures were taken before this building was demolished. The police have equally done their investigation, that is why we have the Army, Navy, and Air Force personnel here on the ground.” he added.
During the demolition process, residents who live near the hotel said they feel safer knowing that the building had been destroyed, adding that the road in front of the hotel was not used by passersby due to the harassment by the late Kinglsey and his syndicate.