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IN THE NEWS The story of a 30-year-old commercial driver, Nsikak Udokang, who was burnt to ashes, Wednesday, by suspected cultists on Etim Ekpo-Iwukem-Abak Highway in Akwa Ibom State, is a pathetic one.

He was born in Calabar in 1988 without seeing his father. He died a painful death and was buried Thursday in Uyo, without any family member or relative at the graveyard to perform the dust to dust
and bid him farewell.
His death is coming at a time Nsikak, a driver with Akwa Ibom Transport Company, AKTC, was planning to bury his mother, whose body has been in a mortuary for years, due to lack of funds for burial. And now that the son is dead too, with no one knowing the exact mortuary the woman was deposited, one could only imagine the fate of the mother, who was expecting that one day, when she dies, her children will bury her.
Nsikak's only surviving brother, who was a fisherman, is said to have died in a river in Ikang, Cross River State, some years, with his body not found uptill today.
Having lost his entire family and with primary school certificate, life became extremely difficult for Nsikak, but was lucky to have gotten a job as a driver with Akwa Ibom State Company, with the hope that things will get better for him one day.
Wednesday, the 28th of February, 2018, was like every other day for him. He left his house in Uyo without any sign of illness, not knowing that he will not return home alive.
From Aba, he took passengers enroute to Uyo, but midway, few kilometers to the destination, suspected cultists blocked his vehicle and in a bid to escape, the gunmen opened fire and killed him.
An yewitness account is that “The hoodlums blocked the road and robbed people. The AKTC bus ran into them, but tried to escape. About six cultists shot at it. The bullets ignited fire, which burnt down the bus. When I heard gunshots, I escaped into Edem Akai Primary School with my motorcycle and watched the incident from there.After robbing the passengers, the cultists snatched a Toyota Camry car and escaped with it. They took the untarred road through Udianga Enem to their hideout at Okoyo village. Others followed the stolen car on their motorcycles. They took away some pretty young ladies passengers inside the bush. The hoodlums robbed nearby shops. Policemen, who usually block Ikot Nya section of the highway, escaped in their van.”
After the dust was settled, the upper part of Nsikak's body, roasted, was discovered with the lower part including the legs, burnt beyond recognition.
In his room in Uyo, search for documents to trace his root was not successful. Worst of it all, he beared a name to a pastor, who took care of him. This made it impossible to trace Nsikak's family from Ukpom Ikot Inuen in Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.
Some of the pictures could be disturbing. Viewers discretion advised.
(C) Harrison Essien