Posted by By JAMES OJO, Abuja on
Gwagwalada, Abuja’s second largest settlement, is set to explode in an orgy of violence following an alleged murder of Rashidi Ishola.....
Gwagwalada, Abuja’s second largest settlement, is set to explode in an orgy of violence following an alleged murder of Rashidi Ishola, a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers [NURTW].
Rashidi, described as the chairman of Gwagwalada Drivers Association was allegedly stabbed to death as he was about enforcing an agreed order barring loading of passengers along the road instead of the approved motor park.
Police authorities in the area had brokered an agreement with the leaders of the unions in the town to discourage commercial drivers’ practice of picking passengers by the road as part of security measures.
Intelligence reports had informed the police that criminals carrying guns and other dangerous weapons normally escaped police search whenever they posed as genuine travellers standing on the road to board vehicles.
The late Rashidi, who left behind five children and an aged mother according to the family lawyer, Oluwole Olukunle was trying to enforce the order but was allegedly attacked by a man popularly called Bakassi and a Tochukwu on the instructions of Mr. Ugochukwu, chairman of NARTO in the area.
Inspector-General of Police, Sunday Ehindero, and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Bayo Ojo, were informed in a petition that while members of the Gwagwalada NURTW were discouraging roadside loading, NARTO was encouraging its members to pick passengers anywhere.
One Hussein, a driver of Golf car with registration number KOGI AL137 LKJ, was alleged to be picking passengers along the road, the late Rashidi made efforts to prevent him from flouting the order.
"In the process of stopping Mr. Hussein. Mr. Ugochukwu called on his son, Tochukwu Ugochukw, and his friend popularly known as Bakassi and specifically instructed them to deal with the late Rashidi Ishola, who was trying to prevent Mr. Husseni from loading by the road side," the lawyer said in a petition.
The lawyer also alleged that the said Bakassi on the instructions of Mr.Ugochukwu slapped the late Rashidi, while Tochukwu allegedly stabbed Rashidi to death with a sharp knife and immediately took to his heels.
One Rafiu Lateef, who came to the rescue of the late Rashidi, was not spared of the blade, he was, however, lucky to escape with wounds.
The two assailants were apprehended and handed over to the police, but to the chagrin of Rashidi family and members of the NURTW, the police let off Bakassi and Tochukwu after four days of detention.
"Since they were released, they have been boasting that they are highly connected with the powers that be and cannot be brought to book.
Tochukwu is walking freely on the streets of Gwagwalada, he is boasting that nobody could arrest him nor do anything to him," the family claimed.
But NARTO members denied encouraging loading by the road. Members were reluctant speaking on the death that has heightened tension in the area, but they claimed that they were not responsible for Rashidi’s death.
"We are also cooperating with police to discourage the act of just picking passengers on the road. We equally have a stake in sanitizing our operations, the death was unfortunate, though it was preventable," a NARTO member quipped as he walked away to his bus.
Commissioner of Police in charge of the Federal Capital Territory [FCT], Lawrence Alobi, confirmed the gruesome murder and the receipt of the petition from the family.
He said that efforts were been made to discourage picking of passengers on the road by commercial drivers because it was hampering police operations, "it is not true that the culprits are roaming the streets freely, it is a murder case and no police would approve bail for a murder suspects."
However, he said that investigations are on and pleaded with travellers to always board vehicles at motor parks so that police would be able to search for weapons used to rob on highways.
The pains of Rashidi Ishola’s mother, wife and family is seeing the killers of their bread winners walking freely with justice seemingly faraway.
Will Rahidi die in vain? Big question.
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