There was tension in Eket, Akwa Ibom State on Tuesday, as two commercial motorcyclists died following a clash between them and the police.
A Volvo station wagon car used by the police for surveillance was also set ablaze.
Police spokesman, Odiko MacDon confirmed the incident and said that 19 suspects have been arrested in connection with the fracas.
MacDon said the suspects arrested had defied government’s restriction order which allows Okada riders to operate between 6 am and 6 pm.
He insisted that the police cannot be intimidated to stop the enforcement of government’s directive.
It was gathered that tension in Eket got to its following an order placed by Eket local authorities restricting the operation of Okada riders to 6pm and 6am. The government had said the decision was to check the upsurge in crime in the area.
An eyewitness, Emman Okposin said the police surveillance team chased them away from the road from 5:30pm as against the 6pm deadline, beat them and impound their motorcycles.
Okposin said, last Sunday night one of their members was shot dead by the police while chasing the operators from road.
He said the incident that caused them to revolt occurred on Monday when a policeman beaten a motorcyclists and he collapsed on the spot before the victim was rushed to hospital.
He said the victim identified as Udo from Idung Udoe in the area died previous night while receiving treatment at Immanuel General Hospital , Eket.
“Our member Udo from Idung Udoe in Eket died last night from injuries he sustained in the hands of police, so we revolted.”
He said the youths and all motorcyclists operators took the corpse to Eket local government council and later to the area police station and 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 checkpoint along James Town road and burn down their patrol vehicle as policemen at the checkpoint escaped.