By Sunday Agbo, Abakaliki
Mgbada, a former member of the Abakaliki Capital Territory Development Board and the Secretary of the state’s Elders Council, allegedly died on Tuesday in the hands of suspected members of the Vehicle Inspection Office (VIO), along Presco- Ezza road in Abakaliki, Ebonyi state capital.
The deceased, this paper learnt, was reportedly travelling with his wife when he was intercepted by VIO officials and during a heated arguments and mild scuffle over on the cause of their illegal operation, one of the officials of the paramilitary outfit allegedly pushed him and he fell, hitting his head on the concrete road and died.
It was gathered that two members of the team were immediately arrested by the Anti Kidnapping Unit of the Nigeria Police alongside their leader, while the deceased was taken to the mortuary at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.
Governor Umahi, who described the death of the elder statesman as callous said he has already ordered for full scale investigation into the incident, vowing that all those involved in the act would be brought to justice.
Orient Daily gathered that the state government had earlier proscribed activities of revenue generation task forces operating in the state, including VIO, as part of his bid to curtail revenue leakages. It’s unclear, as at press time, what led to the death of the Ohaukwu local government chapter chairman of the Divine Mandate Campaign organization, an outfit that worked for the re-election of governor Umahi in the just concluded general election.
Umahi, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Emmanuel Uzor, ordered the Commissioner of Police in the state to prosecute the suspects, who parade themselves as VIO officers, after he had earlier proscribed all task force groups using the government as cover.
“In the proscription order, the governor dissolved all revenue and tax agents in the state at all levels with a promise to convoke another town hall, where a new tax and other revenue will be agreed upon. The governor is yet to convoke such meeting before the ugly incident as he dissociates the government from the illegal activities of such groups which caused the careless death of the elder statesman,” the statement read.
Meanwhile, some motorists, who spoke to Orient Daily on the incident, also recalled how they were manhandled by the VIO officers, an experience they described as wicked and inhuman.
Mr. Philip Ogalegwu told Orient Daily that the officers constituted nuisance in the capital city. According to him, they would always look for one reason or the other to default a motorists, and in the process, end up extorting the public.
“I heard that somebody was killed today by the vehicle inspection officers. It is this morning along Ezza Road. The role of these people should be properly defined. The problem with them is that they will always look for one reason or the other to victimise road users.
“The death of this man is, indeed, painful. Nobody would be happy to hear that his love one who left for work in the morning did not come back home. The state government should look into this. Some of them go extra mile to extort people in order to meet up with the demand of their principal. It is very bad”, he said.
Another road user, Mr. Boniface Aliegu, who said that the dead of Geoffrey Mgbada was a huge lost to the Ezza nation called on relevant government agencies and security agents to ensure that the perpetrators of the death of Mgbada were brought to book.
“We have lost a great man from Ezza nation. Imagine how he was killed by persons, who do not matter in the society. The activities of these men are becoming unbearable and worrisome to the people of Ebonyi state. The state government should know what to do to end this menace on our roads.
“The road safety officers are disturbing us and collecting money from us on daily basis and our brothers, who say they are VIO will also not allow us to have peace on the road.
“The security agencies in the state should make sure they investigate the matter very well to make sure that those who killed our brother is brought to book. He has contributed to the development of the state since its creation and when he is supposed to be enjoying the fruit of his labour, he was killed by these senseless men,” he stated.