FROM: JOE EFFIONG, UYO
Cultural life of the people of Uyo, Akqa Ibom State, was temporarily halted when Ekpo, a popular but dreaded masquerade was knocked down by a hit and run driver, on Thursday.
The Ekpo, who nobody knew where he came from, was said have been hit when the driver, who was in a high speed, tried to avoid another vehicle on the road, and in the process drove over the masquerade, in the Use Offot axis of Uyo, close to the University of Uyo main campus.
An eyewitness said it was initially thought the masquerade, which most people in Akwa Ibom consider to be spirit from the other world, would stand up and continue with his parade. But after most time, it was obvious that he was badly hurt.
“People could not go to help him because ekpo is a dreaded culture. They just stood at a distance to observe him writhe in pains till he died,” a witness told Saturday Sun.
The state commissioner for information, Mr Charles Udoh, who confirmed the incident said, when he was informed that ekpo has been killed , he called the appropriate authorities to go and evacuate the corpse.
“The unfortunate thing is that he was dead before help could come his way. And knowing how people regard ekpo in our clime, maybe, if he was a normal person that was knocked, passers-by could have stopped to help.
“But ekpo is not easy to deal with, especially the female folks. Taking him with the mask to the hospital could cause a serious stir. So maybe people were just waiting, looking on till he died,” Udoh said.
The state police command said the case had so far not been reported in any of the divisions around where the ekpo was knocked down.
The command public relations officers (PPRO), Mr Elkana Bala (DSP) told Saturday Sun that when he heard the news he had called the DPOs within Uyo but all of them expressed ignorant of the case.
“We have not received that report. When I saw the report online I asked all the DPOs from that axis and they said they never received such a report. If it is not reported, I cannot confirm. Maybe they just went and carried the corpse. My response is, we have not received that report,” Bala said. (The Sun)