Following the murder of one Monday Toby, a native of Ikot Akpabong, Mkpat Enin local government area of Akwa Ibom State in a bloody clash between revenue collectors in the area, the transition committee leadership of the council and the Personal Assistant to Governor Umo Eno, Akanimo Bob have continued to trade blames.
It was gathered that the deceased was killed on a market day last week after he was ambushed and beaten by his assailants.
Eno’s Aide who first wrote a ‘Save Our Soul’ letter to the governor, accused the Transition Committee Chairman, Lady Mercy Bassey of causing the unwarranted attack and inviting the policemen to arrest him even as he noted that he escaped death by the whiskers.
He, however, urged the governor to intervene in the crisis to save his life and forestall further bloodletting in the community.
“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”.
He alleged that the Transition chairman shortly after inauguration announced the suspension of revenue committees without due consultation of relevant stakeholders adding that he was a revenue collector himself.
However, the Transition chairman, Lady Mercy Bassey in a statement by the Secretary of the Transition Committee, Amos Afia, on Wednesday, said on assumption of office after due consultation with members of the Transition Committee, she announced a tax free month (December) for traders at the Mkpat-Enin market and also ordered a dissolution of
all standing committees in the Local Government Council, including the revenue collection committee.
She said despite the announcement which was aired on radio and published on social media platforms, some youths in the local government led by Akanimo Bob Ikpe, a Personal Assistant to the Governor, and Eteidung Aniefiok Cyril Udom, the village Head of Ikot Akpaobong Village flouted the order by forcefully selling unauthorized tickets to traders in Akpaudo and Ukam markets.
Bassey said, “On December 11, 2023, after due consultation with members of the Transition Committee, the leadership of the local government council through a press release signed by the Secretary of the Transition Committee, Pastor Afia Amos, declared December 2023 a tax-free month for traders in Mkpat Enin. We also announced the dissolution of all standing committees in the Local Government Council including the revenue collection committee. (herein attached)
“Despite the release, radio and social media announcement for the smooth implementation of the tax-free exercise, some Youths in the Local Government led by Akanimo Bob Ikpe, a Personal Assistant to the Governor, and Eteidung Aniefiok Cyril Udom, the village Head of Ikot Akpaobong Village flouted the order by forcefully selling unauthorized tickets to traders in Akpaudo and Ukam markets.
“On December 20, 2023, the village head of Ikot Akpaobong, Eteidung Aniefiok Cyril Udom, was officially written to, introduce the enforcement team on the tax-free excise in all the markets in the village. In addition, on December 29, 2023, the Commissioner of Police, Akwa Ibom State Command, got a letter introducing members of the newly constituted Markets/Motor Parks Committee as the authorized persons for revenue collection from January 1, 2024. (herein attached)
“On December 22, 2023, an unfortunate report that an indigene of Mkpat Enin named Samuel Monday Toby was attacked at his home for assisting in the enforcement of revenue collection suspension in Ikot Akpaobong Market. The details of the attack and his unfortunate killing are contained in the petition dated December 29, 2023, by the wife, Mrs Gift Samuel Monday, to the State Commissioner of Police. A part of the petition reads, “his assassination is not far-fetched from his 21st December 2023, involvement in the enforcement of the Ikot Akpaobong Market revenue collection suspension directive of the Mkpat Enin Local Government Council having been appointed to aid in the implementation of the directive”. (herein attached)
“Following the death of Samuel Monday Toby, the Nigeria Police swung into action and arrests were made. From the information available to me, investigations are still ongoing by the Police.
” Therefore, the claim by Akanimo Bob Ikpe that he was a revenue collection officer in the Local Government amounts to illegality.”
Confirming the incident, the Police Public Relations Officer in Akwa Ibom Odiko Macdon said the Village Head of the affected community has been arrested, including other suspects in connection with the crime.
He said, “The role of the Police is to maintain law and order. When we got the report, the Police went to restore normalcy to the area.
“What the Police did was to work with all of them and restore normalcy. It is unfortunate that 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 be made public.
“The police are 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.”