There was tension at Itam Market in the Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State following the murder of a tricycle rider by a truck driver.
Market sources told PUNCH Metro that trouble started when the Hausa truck driver, while trying to negotiate space to park for easy offloading of his bags of rice, was obstructed by the tricycle operator and tables used by traders to display their wares, resulting in a traffic snarl.
It was gathered that in the ensuing confusion, the driver climbed down from his truck with a machete, which he used on the tricycle rider, who died due to excess blood loss.
An eyewitness, Mr. Akan Bassey, said the incident happened around 7 pm on Sunday and lasted for about an hour before policemen arrived at the scene to restore calm.
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He said, “The truck driver was angry because of the refusal of the tricycle operator and business owners to clear their wares off the road for the truck to be properly parked for the rice to be offloaded. When he alighted from the truck to clear the road, he met stiff resistance, and what he could do was to bring out a machete, and in the process, cut the tricycle man in the head.”
Hoodlums were said to have used the opportunity to loot the rice and burn the truck, as the driver fled the scene.
Our correspondent learnt on Tuesday that the market, which was shut over the incident, had been reopened and taken over by operatives drafted from the nearby Itam Police Station.
The leader of the Hausa/Fulani community in the state, Alhaji Alhassan Sadauki, while suing for peace, appealed to law enforcement agencies to be proactive and stop the crisis from snowballing into an ethnic war.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Macdon, promised that the command would investigate the incident.
Credit: Punch Metro