Tension In Calabar Market As Rate Collectors Reportedly Kill Iron Excavator 

Calabar Market

Fears of reprisal permeated the popular Marian Market in Calabar and its environs following the alleged killing of a Hausa boy, allegedly by some rate-collecting agents.

The reported killing took place on Wednesday afternoon at the market when the rate agents accosted the boy.

The agents had asked him and his friends, who were returning from excavating rusted irons that were inside their wheelbarrow, to pay N100.

According to the market women who were eyewitnesses, the boys refused to pay the N100 rate paid by other hawkers, saying they were not hawking any wares but merely passing through the market.

The women said the rate agents would not hear any of such excuses from the boys and attempted to force them to part with the paltry amount.

The boys stood their ground, insisting they would not pay, and this led to a big fight.

“A fight ensued between the agents and the Hausa boys in the market. One of the agents brutally hit the Hausa boy and he died instantly. There was pandemonium all over the market as a result. The agents took to their heels,” a trader, Mrs Angelina Effiong, who sells second-hand clothes, explained.

The angry Hausa boys later evacuated the body of their kinsman to their settlement for burial yesterday, said another trader, Cyril Umoh.

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As of Thursday, the uproar persisted as large numbers of the deceased kinsmen, armed with weapons, invaded the Marian market, looking for any of the rate collectors.

Sensing chaos and reprisals, several market women and bus drivers plying the route fled and abandoned the market.

The police authorities had deployed a good number of policemen to the market to save the situation.

According to police spokesperson Irene Ugbo: “We have security meetings every morning, but the issue was not mentioned. Seriously, I am not aware. However, I will find out and revert.”

There have been several complaints from traders about how the rate collectors commit atrocities, manhandle women traders, cart away their wares or outright destroy them.

The complaints and reports forced the state government to ban rate collection but the agents never adhered to the government directive.

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