ENUGU— Heavy protests by irate youths broke out yesterday in Enugu at the popular Milliken Hill after several passengers met their untimely death following gunshots fired at a moving commercial transit bus by an operative of the National Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC.
The commercial vehicle which later got mesmerized in an inferno with shattered widescreens and glasses caused by the trigger-happy civil defense officials, was heading towards Ngwo Community; a suburb in Enugu metropolis.
One of the protesters, a commercial bus driver who spoke with our Correspondent, said they are not giving up until justice is served in the case involving the NSCDC officials who fired the shot.
According to an eyewitness, it has not been long the commercial bus left the popular Enugu New Market, when armed civil defence officials asked the driver of the bus to terminate further movements.
However, the driver allegedly refused to halt as demanded and sped-off while the NSCDC officials chased the bus on their Hilux van.
On getting to the end of the road, the civil defence officers opened fire on the commercial bus, causing the driver to veer-off the track and crash into the deep valley.
“Trouble began when a bus driver allegedly stopped and picked a passenger from a spot that was considered unlawful and when NSCDC officials accosted him, he zoomed off.
“The bus was chased by the NSCDC officials in a tricycle and it burst into flames when it felled into a ditch.
“Right inside the valley, the vehicle bursted into a huge fire, leading to death of about eight passengers in the vehicle,” the eyewitness claimed.
The unfortunate development sparked wide protests by the association of commercial bus drivers and other residents of Ngwo community whom were dispersed by barricades and gunshots fired in the air by officials of NSCDC as they ventured towards their headquarters located near New Market.
The burnt remains of a passenger, one of the victims of the incident, was seen trapped under the vehicle, which was lying on its back inside the valley while the only surviving lady was taken to an undisclosed hospital by the Police where she is currently receiving treatment.
An official of the Federal Road Safety Corps, who was at the scene of the crash, informed our correspondent that the remains of some other passengers who died in the crash were moved to an undisclosed hospital morgue.
A towing van was eventually brought to lift the commercial vehicle, after which the trapped, burnt remains of the last passenger was recovered and moved by an ambulance to the morgue of Eastern Nigeria Medical Center, Enugu.
Police intervenes as protests rises, says we’ll bring perpetrators to book.
Meanwhile, the Enugu State Police Command has said it has commenced investigation into the alleged killing of a commuter by an official of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
The Command’s Public Relations Officer, SP Ebere Amaraizu, disclosed in Enugu on Thursday that the incident took place at about 10 a.m. on Thursday.
It took the intervention of the Commissioner of Police, Mr Mohammed Danmallam and other top functionaries of the state to restore normalcy to the New Market Road.
Danmallam’s arrival saved the situation as commuters were all trapped as angry residents barricaded the New Market Road.
Briefing newsmen shortly after calming down the protesters, the commissioner described the incident as unfortunate.
He said that the police would not allow anyone to jeopardize the peace in Enugu State.
“What happened is very unfortunate, especially with the peace we are enjoying in the state. This kind of thing should not be allowed.
“Investigation has started. We asked people who witnessed what happened to come forward and give us discreet statement, which will help in our investigation.
“We are assuring them that whoever is involved is going to be brought to book.’’