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.
Below is a report by Godwin Sam:
The peaceful community of Itiam Etoi in Uyo Local Government was on Tuesday night thrown into chaos when a number of Hausa men attacked them, leaving a number of them wounded.
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”.
When this reporter asked about the cause of the attacks, another source said it involves a case of a stolen generator which was sold to one of the Hausa men. When the owner of the generator found out that the generator was sold to the scrap collectors, he apprehended them and the case was thought to have been settled, until last night.
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”.
Another victim, Mr. Ezekiel, said “I went to see my friend in the area only to see they running towards my direction. Since I did not know there was a problem, I was just walking on the street going back to my house. One of them lifted his machet to cut me in the head and when I blocked it with my hand, he cut my hand again and again. That is when I knew the matter was serious and started running”.
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”.
Meanwhile, youths in the community have declared that they don’t want the Hausa men in their community again. The youths who came out in their numbers chanted war songs, calling on the “abokis” to evacuate their communities since they are no more safe in their own land.
“Aboki must go… Aboki must go… Aboki must go …” they chanted.
Meanwhile, some shop owners in the area have closed their shops, fearing another spate of attacks.
The Hausa men have been evacuated from the community by the police to an undisclosed location.
More photos below…