Residents of Calabar, the Cross River State capital, have been lamenting the rising cases of car battery theft in the metropolis.
The incident is reportedly more rampant in Ikot-Ansa, Parliamentary, Eight Miles and Ikot-Ishie axis of Calabar municipality where some affected residents have abandoned their cars because they cannot afford new batteries.
A resident of Parliamentary Extension, Solomon Ibor, had complained to the police that the hoodlums recently invaded his compound at about 5am to steal car batteries.
He said, “The incident is very rampant here in Ikot-Ansa. I have lost almost four car batteries to hoodlums whose job is to steal car batteries.
“They have made this area their soft spot. I am appealing to the police and other relevant agencies to help us to curb this ugly trend.”
Another resident of Ikot-Ishie, Lillian John, said she had lost two of her car batteries to thieves in the area, adding that she had started removing the battery from the car each time she went to sleep.
“Between January and now, I have lost two car batteries to jobless thieves. I have learnt my lesson because now I no longer leave my battery in my car whenever am going to bed,” she said.
The situation is also the same in Calabar-South, where another resident of Howel Street, Mr. Kingsley Umoh, said residents of his street have had to form a vigilante group to tackle the menace.
“The situation is worst in our area. The cost of buying a new car battery now in this recession is between N28, 000 and N30, 000. As costly as this battery is, these thieves will steal it and sell for as low of N5, 000 just to get smoking and drinking money.
“We had to form a vigilante group to help us to protect our cars because our compounds are not fenced round,” he said.
The Cross River State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa, on Tuesday urged car owners to be mindful of where they parked their cars to avoid battery theft.
The commissioner of police, however, gave the assurance that the command would step up its vehicular and foot patrols to curb the trend.
He stressed the need for car owners to avoid parking their cars by the road side at night.
“We received complaints from resident about battery theft in Calabar metropolis. We are trying our best to increase our patrol in all corners of the state.
“Security should not be left in the hands of the police and the government alone. Car owners must be vigilant and conscious in protecting their valuables.
“Some people have turned the road side into their garages; this is not encouraging because the police cannot be everywhere at the same time. But, we will not spare anyone caught,” Inuwa said.