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A young man identified as Ikechukwu Anigbo was reported killed and burnt to death over the weekend around a relaxation centre in Apo Mechanic Village, Abuja.
According to reports, the 32-year-old barber from Aku, Enugu State took a bike and argument ensued between him and the motorcyclist when he paid. The man insisted his money is N60 instead of N50. It was alleged that attracted his colleagues to the scene by shouting”thief”.
The mob gathered and started beating Ikechukwu after which they set him ablaze. Confirming the tragic incident,Mr. Ezema Virginius Chukwudike, the taskforce chairman of Abuja Spares Dealers Association, Apo, said”The mob that gathered following the alarm collected tyres from a vulcanising workshop near the scene and set the deceased on fire”.
The next day, angry Igbo men in Apo blocked the road and started attacking any vehicle or Keke Napep with Hausa person or people who look like Hausa. Fortunately, the police were able to stop the riot before it escalated.
Speaking to Daily Trust, a friend of the deceased, Chukwudi Orji said he learnt about Ikechuwu’s death when he got home at about 11p.m.”I saw the fire, but I did not know that someone was inside. There was smoke everywhere; there was no way you would have known that there was someone in the fire, except you were there or somebody told you about it,” he said. “If I had known about it on time, I would have tried to save him because he was innocent,” he added.Speaking further, Mr Chukwudike said, “When news of the incident spread, people became angry. They wondered why the motocyclists would burn an innocent man. Even the man who voluntered to carry the corpse after he had been killed, was chased away”.
He said this is not the first time that motorcyclists are killing someone over a paltry sum of money.”A similar thing happened in Kabusa, when a boy was stabbed because of change.Another man was killed on Wumba road.
The same change issue led tothe death of a man in Damagaza. In his case, after he was killed, they kept him near a river until the next day,” he said. Chukwudike said the last time such an incident occurred in the area, the traders protested and that it took the intervention of riot policemen to bring the situation under control.
“Because the motorcyclists knew what they did, they boycotted this route from Sunday evening until policemen were deployed to the area.”Azeez Akinola, Anigbo’s boss at the barbershop, corroborated Chukwudike story, saying the attitude of motorcyclists in the area is a cause for concern. Akinola who lives around the area where the late Anigbo lived, said he and two other people rushed out of their houses when they received news of the incident, but that the motorcyclists at Kabusa junction refused to take them to the scene.
Akinola who had worked with Anigbo for more than four years in a small barbershop at NEPA Junction, Apo, said it took them a longtime to find a motorcycle to convey them.
He said when they arrived the scene, they saw several people with sticks, but that they did not understand the magnitude of what had happened until someone pointed to the corpse of Anigbo in the fire.”I could not believe it. There were heaps of iron treads from the burnt tyres on his body,” Akinola said amidst tears.”He was very gentle,” Akinola continued.” If small wound touch am, he go treat am for more than one week. I.K. can’t ride a bicycle, talk less of motorcycle. Because of fear, herefused to learn driving despite the fact that they were many people around to teach him,” he said.
He said the matter was reported at the Apo Police Station, where he wrote a statement before police officers took the corpse to a mortuary.When contacted, the spokesperson of the FCT police command, ASP Anjuguri Manzah said, “there was an early morning disagreement between two opposing groups that could have resulted in a clash but it was averted by the timely intervention of anti-riot police personnel.
“Manzah said the FCT Commissioner of Police, Wilson Inalegwu, warned people of the area to desist from violence at the wake of the disagreement and promptly deployed police officers to the scene. The commissioner assured residents of the area and other parts of FCT that adequate measures have been deployed to contain the situation, investigate and unravel the remote and underlying issues behind the upheaval.
He reiterated that any attempt to jeopardise the existing peaceful and serene atmosphere in the Federal Capital Territory will not be tolerated. Though normalcy has returned to the area, the relative peace enjoyed may not last for long if a lasting solution is not proffered. Chukwudike said government should stop motorcyclists fromarming themselves with daggers.”Why should government allow them to move around with daggers unchallenged?” he asked.
There are several versions of the incident, while some insist that the late Anigbo did not commit any crime, some alleged that he attempted to snatch the motorcycle he rodeto the junction but was overpowered by the motorcyclists. However, it is hoped that the police through their investigation will be able to give a clearer picture of what actually transpired.