By Oginyi Ruth
There was pandemonium on Friday along Enugu/Abakaliki Highway following a clash between policemen and lorry driver at a security checkpoint at the boundary between Ebonyi and Enugu states of the South-East.
WARRI TODAY gathered that two unidentified lifeless bodies including that of a man wearing a police uniform was discovered at the end of the clash which left several persons injured.
The melee, sources told our correspondent, also passengers plying the ever-busy stranded as the access road were blocked with trucks during the fight.
It was not clear what led to the crisis but witnesses told our correspondent that a driver of an articulated lorry fully loaded with yam was stopped at the checkpoint by policemen and demanded that the driver give them N1000 bribe before he could be allowed to passed.
The driver was said to have given the policemen on duty N500 but the officers rejected amount, insisting on the N1000 extortion or the truck driver would have his vehicle grounded.
Giving details of the incident, our sources said conductor which the driver have asked to give the policemen N500 was shot by one of the policemen out of anger on his leg for bringing N500 instead of the one N1000 demanded by the police.
It was further alleged that the driver came down from the steering to defend his conductor hence quarrel started.
A strong source in the police who pleaded anonymity disclosed that trouble started when the driver resisted the policemen from deflating his tires.
“The driver was beaten to pulp which warranted other drivers to block the road for over two hours, adding that in the process some stranded passengers who went to the bush to defecate saw lifeless bodies in the bush.
He alleged that a police officer whose name is yet to be identified lost his life on the process as the road users accused the police men of killing and dumping the corpses in the bush.
He said, “What I saw was that a driver of lorry fully loaded with yam was stopped by the police men at checkpoint and he gave them five hundred naira (N500), and the policemen rejected the money.
“The policemen approached the driver when he told them that since he had given them five hundred naira (N500) which they (police) rejected, that none of them can deflate his tire.
“Trouble started when the policemen attempted to deflate his tire. When he tried to stop them, they started beating him. The driver was almost killed. It was at this point that other drivers with articulated vehicles blocked the road causing hold up for hours along the Abakaliki-Enugu Expressway.
“As the road was blocked, stranded passengers and other drivers who were pressed entered the bush to defecate and they saw two lifeless bodies. I left Enugu so early this morning as at 6am, but I was there till 8am this morning.
“The dead bodies were found around the police checkpoints. The people around were suspecting it was the police that killed them. They were surprised why the dead bodies should be found around the checkpoint. That is why the people were accusing them. I was there when it was happening. Nobody told me about it”, he hinted.
When contacted on phone, Ebonyi state police public relations officer, ASP Odah Loveth said she was not aware of the development, adding that she was attending a security meeting.