It was a chaotic Wednesday, August 7, 2019, in Aba, the commercial nerve of Abia State as angry youths from Amaise, Umuokereke Ngwa in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State took to Aba-Ikot Ekpene expressway in Aba to protest against the killing of their kinsman Chimaobi Nwaogu Uzoukwa, who was reportedly killed by a soldier.
It was learnt after trailing and killing the deceased at his father’s compound in Amaise, Umuokereke Ngwa, the soldier hopped into a waiting motorcycle driven by another soldier and left the victim in the pool of his blood.
Reports from the area have it that the soldier whose identity is yet-to-be known at the time of this report allegedly killed Mr. Uzoukwa for refusing to give N100 daily toll to the soldier.
The Nation reporter learnt that action of the soldier angered youths of the area, who stormed the army outpost at Ohanze in Obingwa LGA and set it ablaze after soldiers manning the post took to their heels on receiving information that the mob was heading to their location.
The youths, after setting the army outpost ablaze to register their grievance, took the body of the deceased to Opobo road, off the heart of the commercial city where they reportedly set ablaze a stationary Police van with Mopol 55 inscription at the ever-busy Opobo junction.
The reporter observed the protest caused pandemonium in the area, forcing businesses to close down abruptly, while drivers and commuters using the affected roads were forced to abandon their cars and take to safety to avoid the wrath of the rampaging youths.
Some of the residents of Ogbor Hill when contacted told our reporter that they trekked home as commercial tricycle operators and commercial buses plying the location refused to leave their loading bay.
When NAN visited the scene, burnt fires made with disused tyres and other objects were seen at various points on Ikot Ekpene Road, just as the police van was still on fire.
At 6.15p.m., a contingent of mobile policemen reinforcement was seen standing at various strategic areas of the Opobo Junction, apparently to wade off any group of protesters from converging in the area.
A family member of the deceased and former Chief Press Secretary to former Imo State Governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, Mr. Ebere Uzoukwa in a telephone chat confirmed the death of the deceased whom he described as quiet and calm.
Uzoukwa said: “That boy is married and operates as a commercial motorcyclist. Very jovial and social, Eze as fondly called is calm and respectful.
“It is very painful after complaining about the unwholesome and criminal extortion of these soldiers mounting roadblocks at Afo Di Mkpa Ohanze and Ukpakiri, the people concerned were undecided and unperturbed to act towards protecting the lives of their own people. It is very sad.
“He (the deceased) was trailed by the soldier for refusing to pay N100 and shot him in his father’s compound. What is his crime? Did he kill or go into robbery?
“He is from the same Agalaba part of Obingwa where the Governor comes from and the same Agalaba where the majority leader of the Abia State House, Hon. Solomon Akpulonu comes from. We will surely get to the roots of this act of wickedness.”
Kadiri, the Abia State Army Public Relations Officer, couldn’t be reached for comments.
But a source in the Brigade that pleaded not to be mentioned denied that the soldier was attached to the Abia Command.
According to the source, they are suspecting that it could be the said soldier is from a neigbouring Abia community or a gunman who hid in military camouflage to commit the heinous crime.
The source assured that the 14 Brigade was already on the matter and would soon make their findings public soon.