A newspaper vendor in Calabar, Cross River State, Mr. Innocent Monday-Francis, was on Thursday murdered after an argument that followed his refusal to allow one of his neighbours, identified as Eno, to read the papers.
Monday-Francis (22), who sold newspapers around the popular Flour Mill junction, along the Murtala Mohammed Highway in Calabar, had retired to a neighbourhood bar at Ikot-Effanga area of Calabar to take a bottle of drink when the incident occurred.
Narrating the incident to PUNCH Metro on Sunday in Calabar, the deceased’s younger brother, Mr. Gabriel Monday-Francis, said his brother went to work as usual on Thursday morning and on his way back home in the evening he stopped at a nearby drinking spot for a bottle of drink.
He said those at the drinking spot had alleged that the assailant, who is now on the run, had picked up one of the deceased’s newspapers to read but the vendor told him not to read any of the papers.
He (Monday-Francis) accused the assailant of not only reading the papers for free on all occasions, but that on one or two instances, he had taken copies away without his knowledge.
The deceased’s brother said after that disagreement, Eno got angry and slapped his brother and in retaliation he (Monday-Francis) emptied the content of his glass on the assailant but after people’s intervention, the vendor immediately went home.
He said his late brother, who was already relaxed at home and eating outside, met his death when the assailant came from behind to hit him on his neck twice with shovel and he immediately slumped and died.
“It was while he was already at home eating outside that Eno came to hit him with shovel twice his neck and head and he slumped and died immediately,” the brother said.
It was gathered that when the incident happened, the assailant’s elder brother, whose identity could not be confirmed as at the time of filing this report, rushed to the Federal Housing Police Station in Calabar Municipality to inform the police of what had happened but by the time they got back to the scene of the incident, the assailant had disappeared.
The employer of the deceased, Mr. Etim Dennis, said he was shocked to receive a call on Friday morning that his highest selling vendor had been murdered.
He said, “We are all in mourning now because Monday-Francis was the highest selling vendor I had,” he said.
The deceased’s mother, Mrs. Happiness Monday-John, said that she was called on the phone that her son was dead and truly on getting home, she saw Monday-Francis lying down on the ground and she called him many times without answer.
The police at the Federal Housing Police Station had on Friday morning taken his corpse to the mortuary.
The Cross River State Police Public Relations officer, Mr. John Umoh, said the suspect was already at large.
Umoh explained that the assailant’s brother, who was being detained, would not answer for a crime committed by his brother but that the police was only trying to get information that would facilitate the arrest of the culprit.