The Cross River State House of Assembly has constituted a committee to investigate the remote and immediate cause of death of a petty trader, Mr. Michael Eyo Essien who was allegedly murdered by officials of the Department of Public Transportation (DOPT) recently in Calabar.

The House has also resolved to pay a condolence visit to the family of the deceased as well as appeal to traders in the State, especially in Watt market, to remain calm and allow the law to take its course.

These were parts of the resolutions taken after the presentation of a matter of urgent public interest on the floor of the House by the Member representing Boki 2 state constituency, Rt. Hon. Hilary Bisong.

Hon Bisong had informed the House that the late Michael Eyo Essien, a hawker with a pregnant wife and four children was allegedly killed by men of DOPT at Watt market in Calabar.

In an emotional voice, Bisong emphasized that the role of government is to protect the lives and property of citizens and uphold the sanctity of human lives, adding that, for a government agency to operate in such an uncultured and uncivilized manner, allegedly leading to the death of a citizen, was highly condemnable.

He recalled that the 8th Assembly had earlier passed the Hawkers Protection Bill, which approved designated areas for hawking, in recognition of the high rate of unemployment prevalent in the country, adding that, since the Government cannot provide jobs for all citizens, people have to make ends meet by engaging in legitimate trades instead of going into crime.

He, however, informed the House that the Police had arrested two of the three culprits and called on the House to ensure that justice is served.

Member representing Calabar South 1, the constituency of the deceased, Rt. Hon. Okon Ephraim, thanked Bisong for moving the motion. He condemned the activities of the DOPT officials whom he emphasized have abandoned their primary duties of traffic control and called for a review of their activities.

Other Members in separate contributions also emphasized that Cross River as a tourist destination is widely acclaimed as a peaceful State, adding that, such incidence is inimical to the tourism drive of the Government.

The Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Eteng Jonah Williams, while condemning the incident emphasized the need for both sides to be given a fair chance of hearing.

He thereafter set up the Committee with Rt. Hon. Ekpo Ekpo Bassey, representing Bakassi as chairman, Rt. Hon. Nelson Ofem, Yakurr, Rt. Hon Itam Abang, Boki 1, Hon. Davies Etta, Abi, Hon. Chris Mbu-Ogar, Etung, Hon. Sunday Achunekang, Obanliku, and Hon. Edward Ajang, Bekwara, as members. The committee was given one week to report back to the House.

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