Akwa Ibom State Police Command has confirmed the arrest of 10 members of the dreaded Ekpo masquerades in the state over an allegedly attacking on a police station.
Speaking in an interview yesterday in Uyo, the state capital, the Commissioner of Police (CP), Murtala Usman Mani, said the masquerades were arrested in Abak Local Government Area of the state.
According to Mani, the masquerades, currently being detained at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Ikot Akpanabia Police Command headquarters, had launched a failed attack on the Abak Police and “our officers repelled them.”
Mani, who said the police had commenced investigation into the matter, explained that the law would take its course when investigation had been concluded.
The police boss, who explained that the conduct of masquerades had become a worrisome development in the state, said the ban on such activities became necessary to avert a breakdown of law and order.
According to him, the “ban is not only restricted during this festive period; it is total and we are ready to enforce it to the letter”.
The rampaging masquerades, it was gathered, had blocked the Abak-Uyo dual carriageway, and began extorting money from road users.
Matters were said to have got out of hand when the masquerades attacked and injured a lawyer who refused to part with his cash, forcing interventions by members of the civil society, the traditional institution and security forces.
It was further learnt that the matter became complicated when the clan head of Ediene Abak, Chief Sunday Akpan Umoh, offered to intervene.
Chief Umoh was said to have called the masquerades and the youths to his palace for settlement.
He also invited the police, who came in and arrested some of the masquerades and youths who accompanied them.
What followed, according to one of the youth leaders in Abak, led to the destruction of valuables in the monarch’s compound.
Several Ekpo masquerades were later mobilised across Abak, Afahaobong and other clans for onward march to attack the police station and free their detained members in custody.
It took rare display of gallantry for the police to disperse the masquerades from setting the station ablaze.