Cultural life of the people of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, was temporarily halted when Ekpo, a popular, but dreaded masquerade was knocked down by a hit and run driver during the weekend.

The Ekpo, who nobody knows its origin, was said have been hit when the driver, who tried to avoid another vehicle on the road.

It was expected that the masquerade, which most people in Akwa Ibom consider to be spirit from another world, would stand up and continue with his parade.

But they realized that even spirits feel pain as it was obvious that he was badly hurt.

The sad part is that even in his pain, he was still dreaded.

“People could not go to help him because Ekpo is a dreaded culture. They just stood at a distance to observe him writhe in pains till he died,” a witness said.

The state Commissioner for Information, Charles Udoh, who confirmed the incident said, when he was informed that Ekpo has been killed, he called the appropriate authorities to go and evacuate the corpse.

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“The unfortunate thing is that he was dead before help could come his way. And knowing how people regard Ekpo in our clime, maybe, if he was a normal person that was knocked, passers-by could have stopped to help.

“But ekpo is not easy to deal with, especially the female folks. Taking him with the mask to the hospital could cause a serious stir. So maybe people were just waiting, looking on till he died,” Udoh said.

The state police command said the case had so far not been reported in any of the divisions around where the Ekpo was knocked down.

The command public relations officers (PPRO), Elkana Bala (DSP) told newsmen that when he heard the news he had called the DPOs within Uyo but all of them expressed ignorance of the case.

“We have not received that report. When I saw the report online I asked all the DPOs from that axis and they said they never received such a report.

“If it is not reported, I cannot confirm. Maybe they just went and carried the corpse. My response is, we have not received that report,” Bala said.