There was pandemonium at the popular post office area as a middle age man and father of five children was on Friday crushed to death by staff of Department of Public Transportation(DOPT) in Calabar, Cross River state.
This is coming barely one month after Governor Ben Ayade re-appointed Godwin Nyiam as the Director General of the state’s Department of Public Transportation (DOPT), another trader has been killed by the agency, making it five traders that the agency has killed within a space of one month.
The tragic incident Saturday Report gathered took place on Friday near the post office area where one Michael, a father of five, overrun by the agency’s vehicle for selling slippers in a wheel barrow, near the post office.
According to an eye witness, who simply gave her name as Lizzy, the DOPT had arrived at the post office and immediately started packing peoples wares that were displayed around the area.
Her words : “They packed Michael’s slippers which were in the wheel barrow 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 and he died instantly,” Lizzy narrated.
“At that point, pandemonium broke out as everybody took to his heels, including the DOPT men. But some traders returned and decided to take the dead body to the DOPT office near Governor’s office.
Another eye witness who spoke to our correspondent said the agency has killed not less than five traders in the last one month, regretting that an agency that was established to maintain discipline on the road had turned around to target traders in the state.
“Michael is the fifth person the agency has killed in the last one month. Just last week, they killed somebody at Marian near Marian market and they had earlier killed three before now. DOPT was not established to kill people. It was not even established to attack traders but we have been giving them money. Now see what their greed has done,” the witness said.
Report learned that youths in the post office area later mobilized and attempted to take the corpse, on top of cab, to the DOPT office but were intercepted by a detachment of the Police at the Government House roundabout, where the headquarters of NNS Victory is located.
But for the intervention of the leader of the Police team, Mr. Horsefall, who was able to persuade them to report the incident to the Atakpa Police Station, advising them not to take laws into their hands, the situation would have been different as the youths were ready to burn down the DOPT office.
A mild drama however took place as the Police temporarily seized the cell phone of the correspondent of Daily Post,Edem Edem , for taking pictures of the dead trader, and the phone was only released after members of Correspondents’ Chapel mobilized to confront the leader of the team.
When contacted, Director General of the DOPT, Mr. Goddy Nyiam, said he aware but doesn’t have the details and therefore cannot comment on the matter until he was briefed by his men on the field because he was on an official assignment at a sister agency’s office(Vehicle Inspection Unit,VIO for an event when the tragic incident occurred.
The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Irene Ugbo who confirmed the incident to Correspondent on telephone added that no arrest has been made so far but assured that the agency will be called to order immediately.
“ We are on top of the matter and we are investigating the matter ,although no one has been arrested over the death of the trader but the Commissioner of police will call the agency to order ,” Irene said.