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Tension In A'Ibom As Policemen Allegedly Club NURTW Chief To Death.

FEAR of reprisal attack has enveloped Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, following the murder of Chairman of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Ubong Udo Udofia, allegedly by 'angry policemen.'

Comrade Udofia, 45, popularly known as 'Evolution', was said to have been clubbed to death with guns allegedly by four policemen, after unsuccessful attempt to kill him by shooting.

Speaking on the incident at their home at 179, Ikpa Road, Afaha Oku in Uyo, on Friday, his wife, Margaret, claimed that her husband met his death following an argument with a policeman which degenerated into full blown brawl. She said: 'I was returning from the market when I was called suddenly to witness what was happening to my husband. When I got to the place, my husband was already gasping for breath until he gave up the ghost in my presence.'

According to her, 'a policeman had parked his car and was loading passengers near the Itam motor park, when members of the NURTW task force working for my husband accosted him and directed that he should enter the park and load so that others would not join.

'The policeman, who was in mufti resisted and the task force members, who demanded for the car key and he refused.'

The task force operatives were said to have pushed the car into the park on the orders for the deceased, who was to adjudicate on the matter.

She added: 'My husband was inside another vehicle waiting for the car owner, not knowing that he had called four of his colleagues, who arrived and immediately opened fire. When the bullets could not get at him, they resorted to using gun butts to club him till he became unconscious.

'Several other policemen attached to a nearby construction firm, Julius Berger, were called as reinforcement and more sporadic shooting followed, leading to people scampering for safety including the task force officers,' she further claimed.

Mrs. Udofia, who bemoaned what would become of her nine children, called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP), the state Police Command and the government of Akwa Ibom State, to ensure justice was done in the matter. She said: 'We have nine children to take care of and the eldest is just 15 and none has entered the university yet. So my appeal is that my husband should not die in vain, because all the evidence point to a deliberate and premeditated murder because my husband and the task force members did not beat the policeman.

'All they did was just to direct him to comply with the regulation of loading in the park and not constitute nuisance by loading on the roadside, because touting is illegal in Akwa Ibom State.

'Luckily, one of the policemen, who participated in my husband's death, was trying to escape from the scene and unfortunately for him, his identity card fell off his shirt and was picked up as evidence on the scene.

'The name of the policeman is Sergeant Nwafor Silas, from Ebonyi State Police Command and attached to Julius Berger with service number; 425015.'

Disturbed by the incident, NURTW officials in the state were said to be poised for protest, even as angry youths of Afaha Oku, were said to have plotted a reprisal attack.

The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Itam Division, CSP Francis Irabor, who visisted the deceased at the God's Own Hospital, Park Road, before he died, promised full scale investigation into the matter, assuring that appropriate punishment would be meted on the culprits.

Besides the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Odike Macdon, confirmed the incident but could not ascertain whether any reprisal attacks were in the offing.

'The whole truth of the matter, he assured would be known at the end of the investigations, even as he appealed to the people not to take the laws into their own hands.

The remains of the late task force chair, according to the family has been deposited at the Etang Ekak Mortuary along IBB Way, Uyo.
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Publication:Nigerian Tribune (Oyo State, Nigeria)
Date:Mar 30, 2019
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