Commercial motorcycle operators in Eket local government area of Akwa Ibom State, early hours of Tuesday, 1 October, launched a reprisal attack on the police in the area for allegedly killing two of their members.
The irate youths set a police patrol van ablaze, even as they placed a mock coffin in front of the police divisional office in Eket.
Recall that the police had earlier last week banned commercial cyclists from operating before 6a.m and beyond 6p.m daily due to criminalities allegedly perpetrated in the area through the use of motorcycles.
It was learnt that the motorcyclists never accepted the order as they continued operating beyond the stipulated period.
An eyewitness Emman Okposin, narrating the incident to newsmen, said, “last Sunday night, one of our members was shot dead by the police and the corpse has been deposited in the mortuary at Immanuel General Hospital, Eket.
“But the incident that caused us to revolt occurred yesterday (Monday) was when a policeman beat a motorcyclists and he collapsed on the spot before the victim was rushed to hospital.
“The victim named Udo from Idung Udoe died the previous night while receiving treatment at Immanuel General Hospital , Eket.”
He said the youths and all motorcycle operators took the corpse to Eket local government council and later to the area police station as the council chairman Frank Archibong was not available to address them.
Okposin said the police prevented them from entering their station and they returned the corpse to the mortuary.
He said all the cyclists and the youths regrouped and moved to police checkpoints along James Town road.
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, SP Odiko McDon said the restriction order was from the state government as a strategy to check cultism and all forms of criminality in the area.
McDon who denied knowledge of the death of any cyclists, however, vowed that the police would stop at nothing in ensuring that the order, which helped to checkmate criminality in Ikot Ekpene was implemented to the letter in Eket.
His words, “The restriction order by the state government is not just in Eket, but also in Ikot Ekpene and other troubled areas and the police are merely carrying out the order. We are saddled with the responsibility of implementing the law. We are not using force, so I am not aware of any death, and we would stop at nothing in ensuring that we implement the order. It worked in Ikot Ekpene and today, people are able to sleep with two eyes closed.
“They raised down our Volvo that had a mechanical fault and we have arrested 19 persons in connection with that. We are certain that lots of criminal activities would be curtailed in the area if bikemen are restricted within these hours”.