A middle-aged man and father of five children was on Friday allegedly crushed to death by staff of Department of Public Transportation (DOPT) in Calabar, Cross River.
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The incident occurred along Post Office in Calabar Road, Cross River State around 11.30am
An eyewitness, Mrs. Atim Okon, said she was at the scene of the incident when DOPT officials chased the man for selling around the post office. She said the workers attempted to seize his wares.
She said, “The victim was selling shoes along the Post Office when the DOPT officials harassed him and threatened to seize his goods. The officials gave him a thorough beating and even threw him into the gutter.
“He came out of the gutter; pleading with DOPT workers to save his live and goods but the officials crushed him to death with their vehicle even while he was on his kneels pleading with them,” she alleged.
“The irate boys and suspected thugs went on rampage, destroying vehicles and other property belonging to the DOP, she stated.
The witness said the alleged thugs mobilized themselves, took the corpse of the victim and put it on top of an Audi taxi and moved toward governor’s office where the DOPT office situates.
Another eyewitness, Martin Okon, said that the victim was known as Michael and very popular in the area.
“This killing is the fifth in the month of June and their action is very brutal,” he stated.
Unfortunately, they protesters were stopped at the U. J. Esuene Stadium by security personnel. The Police Officer who led the group, DSP M. Horsefall, however, pleaded with the aggrieved people not to protest again but to report the matter to Atakpa Police Station.
When flexytunes visited the office of the DOPT, all the enforcement staff were not in the office and the office was empty. However, one of the staff seen who preferred anonymity, said the incident was regrettable.
He said that the Director General of DOPT Godwin Nyam could not be reached to be informed about the development.
“We have tried to reach out to the DG but we were unable, we don’t know whether he is safe or not, however, we are still making efforts to reach him.”
Interestingly, the DG who was attending a program at Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO) in Calabar told Journalists that he was not aware of the incident and his staff have not briefed him yet.
Sadly, the Police Officers who were at the Stadium to prevent the corps from being taken to DOPT office harassed our correspondent, Julius Nando and impounded his android phone.
It took the intervention some Journalists and senior security officers in the governor’s office to retrieved his phone to him.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Ms Irene Ugbo has confirmed the story but said nobody has been arrested.