In an attempt to enforce the ban on roadside trading, the Department of Public Transportation (DOPT) of the Cross River State Government, at the weekend allegedly chased a shoe seller at Calabar Road by the Post Office to death
The victim, whose name was given as Michael was a father of five and was overrun by the agency’s vehicle while begging operatives to give him back his wares which had already been confiscated by op eratives of DOPT.
Eyewitnesses said shortly after Michael gave up the ghost, the operatives escaped before the traders could mobilise themselves to accost them. Area boys were said to have later stormed the scene with clubs and machetes looking for the DOPT operatives.
The angry mob attempted to take Michael’s corpse, which they placed on top of a cab, to the DOPT’s office, but were intercepted by a detachment of the Police and the Nigerian Navy.
But for the ability of the leader of the Police team, Mr Horsfall, to persuade them against taking the laws into their hands, the situation would have been different as the youths threatened to burn down the DOPT office.
An eyewitness, who gave her name simply as Lizzy, said the DOPT had arrived at the post office and immediately started packing people’s wares that were displayed around the area.
“They packed Michael’s slippers but the young man fell down and pleaded with them to release his goods. It was at that point that two of the DOPT workers descended on him. They pushed him around and finally when Michael fell down, the DOPT driver ran over him with their vehicle and he died instantly.
“At that point, pandemonium broke out as everybody took to their heels, including the DOPT men.
But some traders returned and decided to take
the dead body to the DOPT office near Governor’s office but were
prevailed upon to report the issue to the nearby Atakpa Police
station,” she stated.
When our reporter contacted the director-general of the DOPT, Mr.
Goddy Nyiam, he said he was not yet briefed on the untoward
development and could not comment further.
A few months ago, the House of Assembly recommended the scrapping of
DOPT over incessant complains from members of the public on the
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar