The Transition Committee Chairman of Mbo Local Government of Akwa Ibom state, Okpo Ekere, was attacked by irate youths in the area on Sunday.
The Chairman was reportedly attacked by the youths from Ebughu community while he was on his way to settle a communal dispute between Ebughu and Efiat communities in the area.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the youths dealt blows and machete cuts on the council boss after he was shot at close range.
“He was given severe machete blows on the head after he was shot,” a witness said. “I think they wanted to kill him, after his police orderly pleaded with them. But they ignored him.”
It was gathered that the chairman was rushed to a nearby traditional healer at Edikor community, who removed some bullets from his body before he was taken to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital for further treatment.
The youths were said to have launched a reprisal attack on passers-by in the area following reports that the people of Efiat community had abducted, killed and buried a young boy from Ebughu community.
It was said that the chairman, after learning of the attacks, went to settle the dispute only for the youth to swoop on his official car.
Akwa Ibom Commissioner of Police, Umar Gbadabe, who confirmed the incident, said at least 12 youth from Ebughu have been arrested over the attack on the chairman.
He said one of the youths identified as the one who shot the chairman in the stomach was among those arrested.
“We are charging these youths to court soon after the completion of our investigations,” Mr. Gbadabe said.
Meanwhile, the state Deputy Governor, Nsima Ekere, who condemned the attack shortly after he visited the chairman at the hospital, wondered why the chairman who was on a peace mission to settle the dispute should be made to become a victim.
He directed the Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Ita Umo-Udo, to dissolve the youth executives at the centre of the crisis in Ebughu community and directed the state Commissioner of Police, Umar Gwadabe, to fish out the culprits and bring them to justice.
He cautioned youths in the state to desist from taking laws into their hands no matter the provocation, adding that government was willing to address genuine grievances.