The Cross River State owned security outfit, Operation Akpakwu, on Saturday demolished Save Side Hotel in Calabar for allegedly harbouring suspected kidnappers believed to have been terrorising the state.
Government claimed that most of the kidnap cases in the state were planned and coordinated from the hotel.
Governor Ben Ayade’s Security Adviser (South), Mr. Henry Okokon, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) moments after the demolition that the Homeland Security Act stipulates that “anyone who aids, abets and harbours a criminal is also guilty of the crime.”
He said residents of the area had been living in fear because of the harassment from suspected kidnappers who used to patronise the hotel for their illegal activities.
“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,” Okokon said.
He added: “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.
“This hotel is one of the buildings that have been harbouring criminals and the government has decided to bring it down.
“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 on ground.”
Credit: The Nation