Some yet-to-be-identified escorts said to be attached to the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Awka Capital Territory Development Agency, Ossy Onuko, on Friday, allegedly assaulted a commercial driver on the road for overtaking their convoy.
In the viral videos making the rounds on Friday, the incident was said to have happened at the UNIZIK Junction in Awka, Anambra State on Friday afternoon and the escorts were seen beating the driver.
While reacting to the trending videos, some residents, who condemned the act, called on the state Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, to caution his appointees, saying that their conduct did not portray them as “responsible public office holders”.
A resident and human rights activist, who identified himself simply as Paschal, while reacting to the videos, further called on the Inspector General of Police, Anambra state Commissioner of Police, the Department of State Services, and all human rights defenders to come to the rescue of defenceless civilians.
He said, “Today this afternoon at UNIZIK Junction, Awka, Mr Ossy Onuko, the Chairman, Awka Capital Territory and his escorts beat the driver of a commercial transport company to a stupor because he overtook them on a Federal Expressway.
“Assuming without conceding that this driver committed any traffic officer, why should he be ‘butchered’ like that? The driver was coming from Lagos to Enugu and on getting to Awka, he overtook a convoy belonging to Ossy Onuko, the ACTDA boss.
“Not knowing that the convoy was with some thugs, they chased him and on getting to the UNIZIK junction, the driver stopped to drop some passengers.
“Onuko ordered his thugs to descend on him, while he watched as they beat the innocent driver.
He added, “The ACTDA boss who was enjoying the beating ordered the thugs to bring the guy to his office. They bundled the driver to their vehicle and took him away living the passengers he brought from Lagos stranded at UNIZIK.
“I am calling on all human rights defenders in the state, Commissioner of Police, Inspector General of Police and State Director of DSS to arrest this overzealous individual who moves around with thugs and beating innocent civilians.
“Yesterday, it was in Agulu that people protested over the killing of Agulu individual by Soludo Revenue agents. The other time it was in Onitsha. This is one incident too many.”
Reacting to the development in a statement late on Friday, Soludo’s Press Secretary, Christian Aburime, clarified that the incident occurred on a roadway in Awka, adding that the commercial driver was seen to be “reckless” on the road.
Aburime said, “The Anambra State Government would like to address a recent incident involving Mr Ossy Onuko, MD/Chief Executive Officer of the Awka Capital Territory Development Agency, and a driver affiliated with GUO Transport.
“The incident, captured in a trending video, occurred on a roadway in Awka. It is imperative to provide an accurate account of the events in question.
“Upon observing the dangerously reckless driving behaviour exhibited by the GUO Transport driver, Onuko, who was also navigating the same thoroughfare, took it upon himself to intervene.
“Recognising the potential peril to fellow road users, he attempted to caution the driver. Regrettably, the driver chose to disregard the warnings, necessitating the intervention of security personnel to ensure compliance.
“But during the process of apprehending the driver, a regrettable altercation ensued, involving the driver, Onuko, and other unidentified individuals.
“We are aware that public commentary surrounding the incident has led to some misconceptions, erroneously implying that public officials associated with the Anambra State Government are predisposed to confrontations.
“We wish to categorically refute these claims. The state government, under the humane leadership of Governor Chukwuma Soludo, remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering a society characterised by civility, decorum, and mutual respect for human rights.
“We are resolute in our pursuit of an environment where residents comport themselves responsibly, mindful of the rights and welfare of others, and the collective good of the public.”
He emphasised that Soludo’s passionate dedication to cultivating a community of enlightened citizens is a principle that he anticipates will be upheld by all public servants within his administration.
“It is imperative to emphasise that the governor does not endorse or condone any official of a state government agency taking matters into their own hands or engaging in altercations with members of the public while seeking compliance with established norms or laws.
“In conclusion, the state government wishes to reiterate its commitment to the principles of responsible governance and the welfare of all citizens. We trust that this statement provides a clearer perspective on the incident in question,” Aburime added.