Photos: Scores injured as Hausa scrap dealers allegedly attack residents of Itiam Etoi community, Akwa Ibom
Three persons are feared dead and scores injured following clashes involving Hausa/Fulani scavengers and local residents of Itiam Etoi community in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
According to an eyewitness who spoke to The Guardian, the problem started on Tuesday night when a Hausa scrap dealer carrying a generator in a wheelbarrow was accosted by some local residents, who asked him for settlement. When he refused, a minor misunderstanding led to a brawl and forced a reprisal attack from the Hausa/Fulani settlers in the area.
According to a source at the scene of the incidence, who preferred anonymity,
“the attacks began at about 10 pm when some people had slept. It would have been worse if there were many people on the street. They started cutting anybody they met on their way with machetes and clubs. Some of them carried iron rods and other forms of weapons with which they beat and wound people. They also destroyed the properties of people selling shops in the area”.
The source said the problem started when the man who bought the generator was another of his Hausa kinsman whom ha accused of selling him out by reporting to the owner of the generator that the generator was sold to him and started to fight with him. An attempt by an Ibibio man in the area to separate the fight led to one of the fighting parties insinuating that the Ibibio man sided with his brother to beat him. He then went to his people to tell his brothers, who reinforced and went with him to attack anyone they met on the street.
One of the victims, Mr. Itoro, said
“I was sitting in front of our house when I saw them running with machetes towards me. But because I didn’t have any problem with anyone I was not afraid, only for the to cut me in the face and continued to run on”.
The man with the highest level of injuries, Mr. Ubong Okon, said they met him on his way back from work and descended on him.
“I sure they wanted to kill me, but God saved my life as some youths who were drinking nearby came to my rescue. I thank God that I am still alive”.
When news men contacted the village head of the community, Eteidung Effiong Asikpo, he declined comment. But, the Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Rev. (Dr.) Ndueso Ekwere, while speaking to this reporter called for calm as everything will be brought under control
“I want to urge the people to stay calm as the police and the authorities have waded into the matter. I also want to urge all law-abiding citizens to go about their normal duties as culprits will be made to face the full weight of the law”.
“Aboki must go… Aboki must go… Aboki must go …” they chanted.