…As Auto Mechanic Protest Turns Violent
There was palpable tension in Port-Harcourt, the Rivers State capital Monday, January 20, 2020 as a peaceful protest by the Auto Mechanics and spare parts dealers in Ikokwu area of Mile two, Diobu Port-Harcourt against police brutality on civilians gradually turned violent when it was hijacked by hoodlums.
Team of anti –riot policemen drafted to quell the protesters had a hectic day controlling the angry mob as life bullets and teargas were freely used while the protesters themselves hauled back pebbles and other instruments at the police. Business activities were disrupted for hours in the area as a result.
Eventually some arrests were made and passers by were forced to raised their hands up as the through fare was opened for human and vehicular traffic.
You would recalled that the E-crack Unit of the Nigeria Police at Mile One Divisional police station had accosted late Mr. Chima Ikwunado and three of his apprentices, during the yuletide, searched and seized huge sums of money in their poccession accusing them of armed robbery and cultism.
In course of torturing them to perhaps extract confession from them, , we learnt, that the youths were given all types of barbaric treatment including hanging them upside down on the ceiling fan hook, for hours. When late Chima could not bear the torture anymore and eventually died, the police allegedly lied that he was diagnonised of dying as a result of high sugar level, while the rest were hurriedly arraigned before the court for prosecution.
But this the family members as represented by Chima's elder brother Anthony Ikwunado vehemently denied, saying that his brother never complained of such ailment in his life time, accusing the police of complicity in the murder at this point.
The owner of the vehicle in question which the auto mechanics were test riding, Mr. Erapamo Eradiri had gone to the police to testify of the accused innocence and collected his car, yet the police refused to backdown but continue persecuting the mechanics.
According to the car owner, `Chima is my innocent and honest auto mechanic for four (4) years and he has been working on my seven (7) cars since the past years without any problem.
One Mr. Obinna Nsirim, a family member said he was at a loss, why the police are still holding back to the corpse of the Imo state born mechanic whose expectant wife was equally in an emergency ward of the hospital as a result of the development .
The father of the late Chima, Pa Ikwunado when contacted cried and lamented that with the police barbaric and wicked action, his life has been shattered and cannot bear the untold hardship the development has brought to the entire family. 'Chima my son was the major bread winner of the extended family, who will run to our rescue whenever we bekon?” he cried.
One Mr. Anthony Ani a trader in the Ikokwu spare parts market said in a chat with newsmen that they will continue to protest the untimely death of Chima until Justice is done in the matter, adding that the harassment and intimidation of the police on innocent citizens is too much and must be challenged this time around. Enough of this police brutality and inhumanity on the people they are supposed to be protecting” he declared.