Following a motion by Rt. Hon. Hilary Bisong for the Assembly to middle into the irksome murder of a petty trader, Mr. Michael Essien, the House, today inaugurated a 6-man committee to put the murderers, alleged to be officials of the State’s Department Of Public Transportation (DOPT), equal in the eyes of the law.
According to reports, Mr. Michael Essien, a shoes seller at Watt Market, Calabar was on Friday, June 21st beaten and thereafter crushed to death by officials of DOPT.
Reports have it that Mr. Michael’s offence was that he does not own a shop to house his merchandise, rather he sits by the road side to do business.
An eyewitness said that on the day of event, the DOPT officials had an altercation with Mr. Michael for obstructing regular movement of vehicles along the road axis of his shop. They tried to seize his goods and in a gesture of resistance by the shoes seller, they had him beaten to a point he fell into a nearby gutter. While trying to come out from the gutter, the eyewitness said DOPT crushed Michael to death with their duty van and did away with his goods.
Five (5) days already gone with none of the murderers’ name being mentioned nor the public briefed of any security measure to bring the alleged officials to book, members of the State’s House of Assembly had no choice than to come inbetween.
Member representing Boki II State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Hilary Bisong opened the debate floor when he registered his ‘motion of urgent public importance’, calling on his colleagues of the 9th Assembly to, as a matter of exigency support late Mr. Michael’s family get the justice the state government owed them.
The motion which was seconded by the Rt. Hon. Okon Ephraim of Calabar South II was accompanied by three (3) prayers; first, for a special investigation committee to be set up for the matter; secondly, the House should reach out to the traders/hawkers to calm their nerves; and thirdly, the House should visit the deceased family.
Additionally, the members agreed that DOPT be invited to appear before it for questioning and re-orientation as the agency is a brainchild of the House.
Granting the prayers of Hon. Bisong, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Eteng Jones inaugurated a 6-member investigation committee to dig-deep into the matter and report back to the House before further steps would be taken.
The committee is headed by Rt. Hon. Ekpo Ekpo and has Rt. Hon. Itam Abang, Hon. Edward Ajang, Hon. Ogar Mbu, Hon. Sunday Achuneckang and Rt. Hon. Nelson Ofem as members.