There is tension in Ukam community, Mkpat Enin local government area as armed Policemen laid ambushed around the house of the Personal Assistant to Governor Umo Eno Mr Akanimo Bob after the clash of two market revenue groups at Ikot Akpabong market which resulted in the death of Samuel Monday Toby in Ikot Akpabong market last week.
Our Correspondent gathered that trouble started when the Local Transition Chairman Mrs Mercy Bassey dissolved the former Revenue Committee in the area without consulting stakeholders of the host communities.
An eyewitness Utibe Udo Odiong said Monday Toby was killed at Ikot Akpabong market day when he was waylaid and beaten up till he died on the spot while traders scampered for safety.
Odiong explained that the victim was a hired thug by the Transition Chairman to chase away the former Revenue Committee members to give way for the new team to collect revenue in the market.
He said the governor’s Aide whose house is now monitored by armed policemen, evaded arrest and escaped to an unknown destination.
“Since the incident, the Transition Chairman Mrs Mercy Bassey ordered the police to Gordon off all the local markets during the market days to prevent further attacks”
In an open letter to Eno titled “Save my soul” and made available to newsmen in Uyo on Tuesday, the Personal Assistant to Umo Eno Mr Akanimo Bob urged the state governor to intervene in the crisis to save his life from imminent danger.
Bob accused the Transition Committee Chairman of causing the unwarranted attack and later brought policemen to arrest him.
The open letter to the governor reads in parts: “Sir, I am Mr. Akanimo Bob, an indigene of Ukam in Mkpat Enin, Ikpa Ibom ward 2. By the grace of God, a Personal Assistant II, to Your Excellency the Governor.
“Your Excellency, after an avoidable loss of life of a young man by name Samuel Monday Toby in Ikot Akpaobong, the arrest and detention of seven youths of Mkpat Enin in state CID, and the invasion of Ukam market last week Wednesday with ten truck loads of policemen, causing many casualties, It has become very pertinent for me to write this Save our Soul letter to you, pleading your intervention and need to call the transition committee chairman, Lady Mercy Bassey to order, to end ongoing bloodletting, use of thugs, and police brutality sponsored by the Transition Committee Chairman against perceived enemies of the Chairman.
“Your Excellency, soon after the current transition committee in the state was convened, Lady Mercy Bassey declared a suspension of all revenue committees in the Local Government Area. I was a revenue officer in Ukam Market. Myself and other revenue officers across the Local Government Area obeyed the order.
“However, we got a hint that her next plan was to replace revenue officers with her choice officials, we intimated stakeholders of the two major markets, and the stakeholders requested to be carried along in the new arrangement, as past Chairmen have always done. ”
“These markets are maintained by the host communities, as successive Local Government Chairmen have always ignored every plea to renovate the market with part of the revenues generated.
“Besides, these markets are owned by the communities; the lands and assets of the market are owned by the communities, which is why the host communities are usually given the privilege to nominate a reliable candidate for onward selection as revenue officers of the market so that while paying the local government council an agreed amount, the revenue officer could also give a portion to the host community for the maintenance of the market.
“Unfortunately, Lady Mercy BASSEY decided to choose a divide-and-rule method, she adamantly turned down every plea to sit with the host communities to dialogue, against the usual practice. And she went ahead to nominate very unreliable young man by the name Isuamfom Michael Umoren, whose dubiousness is known to the community.
“And as we speak, Lady Mercy Bassey has put seven youths in CID detention for a week now, and has turned around to petition me, and many other stakeholders of our community to the police, branding us all sort of names and allegations. Information has it that she is bragging that she will arrest us and have us imprisoned or killed. ”
The governor’s Aide threatened to mobilize youths to defend themselves except the governor intervened.
“Your Excellency, in the face of provocation and intimidation, we are left with two options; one option is to mobilize youths of our communities to resist her victimization every market day and any other day, and the second option is to write this letter to call for your intervention.
“Your Excellency, permit me to mention, as your PA that beyond the revenue challenge, Lady Mercy Bassey is victimizing Ukam and Ikpa Ibom Ward 2, for political reasons,” he said
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer(PPRO) in Akwa Ibom SP Odiko Mcdon said the Village Head of the affected community has been arrested including other suspects in connection with the crime.
“The role of the Police is to maintain Law and order. When we got the report Police went to restore normalcy to the area.
“What the Police did was to work with all of them and restore normalcy. Unfortunately, one of the parties went and now murdered some other person. That led the Police to arrest some persons.
“That matter has been transferred to the State CID. A very discreet investigation is ongoing. The Commissioner of Police ordered that the matter be investigated, and the outcome of the investigation will made public.
“The police is not out to terrorise people but to ensure Law and order and that has been done. If they have any political issue let them sit down and restore it politically. We would not allow any breakdown of Law and order in any part of the state. So we are on it.” he said.