By Ruth Oginyi
There was a melodrama at the early hours of Tuesday in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state, when an angry driver chopped off a finger of a member of the state taskforce team to escape arrest for loading along the road.
The driver reportedly swallowed the finger of the taskforce man identified as Iboko Kenneth.
The driver of an articulated bus had stopped on the road to pick passengers when the taskforce from the ministry of capital development tried to arrest him.
The incident occurred at Onuebonyi junction in Abakaliki city when the state Ministry of Capital City Development and its taskforce team was inspecting the state capital to ensure that there were no illegal parks within the city after all the commercial transport companies relocated to a new park known as Akubaraoha Central park provided for them by the state government along the Abakaliki-Ogoja high way.
Our correspondent reports that the team led by the commissioner Onyekachi Nwebonyi on reaching the Onuebonyi junction, some drivers were seen loading passengers which infuriated the commissioner and the taskforce team.
One of the taskforce members, Iboko Kenneth attempted to arrest one of the courageous drivers who used a self-defense mechanism to escape arrest.
The taskforce man had put his hands into the vehicle to collect the key but the driver grabbed one of his fingers and chopped it off.
The victim was, however, taken to the emergency unit of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki(AE-FUTHA).
Addressing journalists, the Commissioner for Capital City Development, Barr Onyekachi Nwebonyi condemned the stubborn nature of some of the drivers.
He said the task force arrested five drivers for illegal loading and said the arrested drivers will be arraigned in court soon.
He said “unfortunately, a driver can attack a law officer who is trying to organize the state to the point of chopping off his finger, this is terrible, unexpected and it is barbaric. So, I want to plead with the motorists not to pull our legs because the task force are not weak and we do our job within the confines of the law but for a driver to chop off a task force finger is unacceptable and I assure you that we will get to the root of the matter, it will not happen again.
“We are not using force but the problem is that our people are stubborn particularly the motorists, some of them anyway. But before them, I want to commend some of the transport companies for their cooperation so far that led to the peaceful relocation of the parks within the city to the central park known as Akubaraoha Abakaliki Central Park.
“If you go there now, the park is very peaceful, businesses are going on, no complain. As a government, we are doing our best to fence the place and put internal roads and other social amenities.
“But we have discovered with dismay that some drivers are bent on operating from the streets instead of doing the needful buy joining their colleagues at the central park. My encounter with them this morning is evidence of that assertion. Along waterworks road, behind the police checkpoints there, we saw over 10 buses loading Enugu and Onitsha.
“We also patrol to Onuebonyi junction, we also saw 11 trucks, buses, sienna buses loading there not minding our repeated warnings to that effect”.