A 41-year-old food seller, Mrs. Lizzy Offiong, has died while struggling for a share of the N1m the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, gave to Mbiaobong market women.
It was learnt that the woman, who sold food around the streets of Uyo in the morning, was returning from a church programme on Saturday when she decided to stop at the market to buy food items.
Her husband, Mr. Gabriel Dick, from Aka Ekpeme, in Ikono Local Government Area, told Southern City News in Uyo on Tuesday that his wife only went to the market to buy food items, but did not know how she became involved with the governor’s money.
According to him, when the governor arrived at the market, he told the women that he was going to give them N1m to share among themselves.
He added that immediately the governor handed the money over to the market leader, Mrs. Edemawang Udo, and left, the market was thrown into chaos.
Dick stated that few minutes before 8pm, he was alerted that his wife had been rushed to St. Luke Hospital, Anua, Uyo, adding that Offiong was transferred to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, after six hours of treatment at St. Luke Hospital without improvement.
husband of the victim and sympathisers
“My wife was in the market to buy food items. When the governor arrived at the market, he asked for the market leader so that he could give them N1m to share among themselves.
“Then Emmanuel handed the money over to the elderly woman and instructed her to share it with the other women and then left. So, the women themselves began to drag the elderly woman to share the money, but from what I heard, there was confusion all over the place.
“So, the old woman was dragged here and there, and as I learnt, I did not know how the money got into my wife’s hand, before men and other women ramped into her, pushed her into the gutter and matched on her. And before anyone could realise what had happened, she had gone into coma,” he said.
The leader of the market women identified as Edemawang Udo, 65, said she was there when people fell on her and pushed her into the gutter, stressing that she had injuries especially on her waist as a result.
woman market leader, Udo
Udo said when Emmanuel came, he sent for her and she abandoned what she was doing to meet the governor, explaining that the governor gave her N1m to share with other market women.
She said, “A young man who stood nearby came to collect the money from me, but when a policeman asked if he was my son, I said no. So, immediately I took the money to my stall, other women ran up to me to seize the money; and before you know, men selling beef, overpowered all of us and collected the money.
“I was trampled on and thrown into the gutter; and since then, I have just come to the market. I’ve not seen a kobo of the money the governor gave to us. I don’t know if there was anybody who suffered the way I did.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Cordelia Nwawe, said the police was not aware of the incident.