Commercial motorcycle riders, but popularly known as okadamen on Thursday, took to the streets of Ogbor Hill, Aba, Abia State, to protest the killing of their colleague, Chimaobi Nwaogu, by a soldier for allegedly refusing to part with N100 bribe at a military checkpoint.
The motorcycle riders, who paid a condolence visit to the slain member’s family at Umuokere-Ngwa community, Obingwa Local Government Area, Abia State, called on the military authorities to unravel the soldier behind the act to serve as a deterrent to others. They further called on the military and the government to come to the aid of his family, sources told Vanguard.
Eyewitnesses said the soldier had trailed the late Chimaobi as he rode past the checkpoint and shot him dead at his village, then fled.
An eyewitness told Vanguard: “We saw a soldier on a motorcycle pursuing Chimaobi. We were wondering what may have happened, then the soldier shot him and he fell off his motorcycle. The soldier then fled.
“It is painful that life has become so cheap that a soldier can just kill without cause. Now, Chimaobi’s wife is heavily pregnant and may soon put to bed. He left three children behind. Who is going to take care of them?”
The situation caused panic in the area as youths of the community set the military checkpoint on fire, even as the soldiers watched without fighting back. The youths took the corpse to Opobo Junction, Ogbor Hill, Aba, where they also set fire to the Police checkpoint and a patrol van.
Policemen fired tear gas to disperse the protesting youths as they erected barricade along Ehere, Umuola and Ukaegbu roads, parading the corpse. The Police were later joined by a convoy of military vans who arrested some of the youths.
Efforts to get the reaction of the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 14 Brigade, Ohafia, Major Kadiri Aliu, was not successful as he did not take calls to his mobile phone. He also failed to respond to a message to his mobile number.
Meanwhile, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, yesterday, visited the family of the slain okadaman, announcing that the state government will take care of them, noting that the killer-soldier along with two of his other colleagues have been arrested.
The governor said: “This is one killing we will not allow to be swept under the carpet. Such incidents must stop in Abia. I therefore, urge the youths of Obingwa and, indeed, every area in Abia State, to remain calm, peaceful and go about their normal businesses, while we deal with the situation according to the laws of the land. Be assured that justice will be served.”
On the governor’s entourage were Commissioner for Information, Chief John Kalu; Commissioner of Police, Mr. Etim Okon; Police Area Commander for Aba, ACP Peter Opara; Majority Leader of the state House of Assembly, Solomon Akpulonu, among others.