By Andy Esiet, Calabar
The 24 year old 400 level Philosophy student of the University of Calabar , Kingsley Effiom Paul on Thursday risked his life climbing a 60 feet floodlights tower to protest the neglect and decay of U. J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar.
Paul had at about 6 :00 am on Thursday climbed to the top of the flood lights to protest the dilapidated facilities like the tartan track, the field, swimming pool, the abandoned multi-purpose sports complex, stadium hostel and others at the UJ Esuene sports stadium.
The incident attracted large crowd along the Muritala Mohammed Highway by the stadium leading to gridlock thus causing commuters to use other routes to avoid being held up in the heavy traffic at the ever busy highway.
Paul who was late rescued by the Cross River state Police Command ,Anti Kidnapping and Cultism Squad, (AKCS-Dragon Squad) at about 7.30 am by climbing the 60 feet floodlights tower, said, “I was moved by the spirit of God to climb the floodlights in the stadium to draw attention to the dilapidated basic facilities in the place. I am not a thief. I didn’t even climb the place with any tool whatsoever .
“I didn’t also climb to attempt suicide. I am a student of Philosophy in the University of Calabar, 400 level. I have no reason to want to kill myself, so my intention was simply to create awareness and draw government attention to look into the plight of the stadium .
“I am aware that there were some renovations of the swimming pool and basket ball court but a lot of other athletes are suffering because the track and the pitch have really gone bad. I just wanted government to do something about it and I believe my mode of protest will give the place the much needed attention”.
Commander of Dragon squad, a Superintendent of Police, Mr. Abdulhameed Awodi and his men were able to restore calm at the scene when his men climbed up and brought the lone protester down safely.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Irene Ugbo said the incident was unfortunate while commending the Commander of Dragon Squad who rescued the protester for their timely intervention, saying, “we got reports about a man who had climbed the stadium flood light in the early hours ,so the tactical team Commander Awodi dispatched his his men to rescue the young man .
“Initially the public thought it was a suicide attempt but upon interrogating the lad ,we discovered he was climbed the floodlights to protest as well as draw the attention of the Cross River state to the dilapidated state of the UJ Esuene Stadium.
“He said he is a sports lover and wasn’t happy about the way a lot of the facility within and around the stadium had been abandoned to rot away, but we will further profile him to know if there is a hidden intention.