By Peter Okutu Abakaliki—Vehicle Inspection Officers, VIO, operating in Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi State, yesterday allegedly killed the
By Peter Okutu
Abakaliki—Vehicle Inspection Officers, VIO, operating in Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi State, yesterday allegedly killed the Secretary of Ebonyi Elders Council, Chief Geoffrey Mgbada.
The deceased, who hailed from Effium in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state, was allegedly pushed by one of the officials when an argument ensued between both parties at Presco Junction Ezza Road, close to Senator Offia Nwali flyover.
According to reports available to Vanguard, the deceased who was within the age bracket of 50 and 60 years, collapsed at the scene of the incident and was rushed to Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, where he was confirmed dead by doctors.
The deceased was an uncle to the Chief Press Secretary to Ebonyi State Governor, Mr. Emma Uzor.
He was said to be driving with his wife when he was intercepted by VIO. An argument ensued which led one of the agents to push him. He fell and hit his head on the concrete road.
Two members of the team were immediately arrested by the police while the corpse of their victim has been deposited at the hospital’s mortuary.
Meanwhile, Governor David Umahi has condemned the recent killing of Chief Mgbada, who was a former member of Abakaliki Capital Teritory Development Board, and called for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.
Umahi, in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Uzor, described the death of the elder statesman as callous.
The statement read in part: “the governor, on hearing about the death of Chief Mgbada expressed great sadness and ordered the Commissioner of Police to arrest and prosecute the suspects who paraded themselves as Vehicle Inspection Officers.
“Let it be known that the governor in a town-hall meeting with Ebonyians proscribed all task force agents working under any guise using the state government as cover.
“In the proscription order, the governor also dissolved all revenue and tax agents in the state at all levels with a promise to convoke another town hall meeting where a new tax and other revenue agents will be deliberated and agreed upon.
“The governor was yet to convene this meeting before this ugly incident. He is saddened by this careless death and wishes to dis-associate the state government from the illegal activities of the VIO and other task force agents in the state.”
He commiserated with the family of the deceased and vowed to ensure that justice is done while urging the members of the public to resist illegal revenue agents.
In his reaction, the decea-sed’s son, Mr. Chijioke Mgbada, said: “I was preparing to go to school, Ebonyi State University, when my mother came in shouting, telling me to start going to the teaching hospital, that my father fainted; that he was beaten to coma by the VIO.
“When I got there, it was a different thing; my father was dead. Government should ban the VIO and the person that did this should be sentenced to life imprisonment.”
as the only body legally permitted to collect revenue on behalf of the government is the newly inaugurated Board of Internal Revenue.
VIO should be banned in Ebonyi, culprits face life imprisonment – son of deceased
“My father is an elder in this state and he is well known. Even His Excellency knows him. He is a member of the Abakaliki Capital Territory Development Board (ACTDA) and he is also the secretary of the Elders Council.
Contacted the state Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Loveth Odah explained that the suspects had been identified and arrested.
“This morning I got a call that a man was allegedly killed by VIO officers and the incident was attracting so much crowd in the hospital. I quickly rushed to the hospital and to my greatest surprise; he was a highly placed man in the society.
“His wife was not in the mood to talk but she said that the VIO stopped them but instead of going ahead to check their vehicle, they pushed her husband and he hit his head on the pavement.
“She was quickly taken away of the prevailing mood. But one of his relatives who held the man between the neck and the head touched blood which means that he was badly hit.
“The two VIO officers were the same people that took the man with his own vehicle to the hospital. The police have arrested them and they are in detention already.”
Meanwhile, Dr Kenneth Ugbala, Commissioner for Border Peace and Internal Security stated that the suspects would answer to the crime they committed.
“I could recall on 9th of July 2018, the activities of VIO were banned in the state following the accident that took a life along the Enugu-Abakaliki Expressway by Ukwuachi and they were accused of being responsible for it.
“And the state government banned them. And we banned their activities within Abakaliki metropolis. We asked them to take the highways under the supervision of the security agencies and since then we have been maintaining that.
“Thank God that they were apprehended. As we speak right now, to the best of my knowledge, they are under the police custody for investigation. And they are going to answer purely for murder.”