The Obong of Calabar, Ekpo Abasi-Otu V, has called on the Cross River State Police Command to arrest any masquerade found along the streets of Calabar begging for money.
Abasi-Otu made the call on Thursday in Calabar during the formation of Eminent People’s Forum organised by the Commissioner of Police, Jimoh Ozi-Obeh.
The Obong, who was represented by Etubom Bassey Duke, the Chairman of Etubom’s Traditional Rulers Council in the palace, said the call became necessary following series of negative complaints about some masquerades.
He said the palace of the Obong had received several petitions that some people were hiding under the guise of “masquerade” to extort money from innocent residents of the state.
He said: “The palace of the Obong of Calabar has received several petitions about the wicked act of some masquerades in Calabar.
“Some of these people hide under the guise of masquerades to extort money from people. They also carry out heinous crimes while pretending to be spirits.
“We don’t permit masquerades to go about in the street begging for money unless it is a very big cultural event.
“I am calling on the police to arrest any masquerade found begging for money along the streets of Calabar.”
Earlier, Ozi-Obeh said the forum was set up to bring stakeholders together to collaborate on peaceful co-existence in the state.
The commissioner said the police needed the support of the traditional rulers in order to maintain a crime-free society.
Tina Agbor, the Secretary to the State Government, said the security of any state requires the support of the traditional rulers because they were the closest to the people.
Agbor urged traditional rulers in the state not to shield any of their subjects found wanting, but rather, hand them over to the police for interrogation.
A traditional ruler, Etubom Michael Etim, urged the police to deploy more patrol vans to Akpabuyo and Bakassi local government areas to check the activities of suspected militants in the creeks.
Traditional rulers, local government chairmen, serving and retired senior civil servants, professionals and youth leaders, among others, attended the forum.