A tense atmosphere gripped Calabar’s Marian Market after the killing of a Hausa boy by rate-collecting agents. The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon when agents demanded N100 from the boy and his friends. The boys, who were only passing through with their wheelbarrow of rusted iron, refused to pay.

Eyewitnesses reported that the boys argued they weren’t selling anything, just transporting goods. The agents, however, wouldn’t accept this and insisted on the payment, leading to a heated confrontation.

The situation escalated quickly. A fight broke out, and one agent struck the boy fatally. The market descended into chaos as traders and shoppers fled in fear. Angelina Effiong, a trader, recounted the tragic event, noting the swift escape of the agents involved.

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The boy’s body was taken back to his community for burial, fueling anger among his people. By Thursday, a group of armed Hausa men stormed the market seeking retribution. Their presence caused widespread panic, forcing many traders and bus drivers to abandon their posts.

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Police quickly intervened, deploying officers to the market in an attempt to restore order. Despite this, the situation remained volatile. Police spokesperson Irene Ugbo mentioned ongoing security meetings but admitted she was unaware of the specific incident initially.

The incident highlighted ongoing issues with rate collectors, who traders claim have been abusive and destructive despite a state ban on their activities. The government’s failure to enforce this ban has now led to a deadly confrontation, raising serious concerns about market safety.

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