By Ijendu Iheaka
The Nigeria Police, Abia Command has confirmed the killing on duty of a young security man working for the newly formed Umuehilegbu Industrial Market Shoe Makers Association.
The Command’s PPRO, Geoffrey Ogbonna confirmed the incident to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Aba on Thursday.
“There was an incident that occurred at Umuehilegbu Industrial market on Tuesday where an unidentified person was shot dead by unknown person (s) around 8: 00 pm on Tuesday.
“As a result, some shops were set ablaze by an angry mob.
“Police has waded in with the view to restoring normalcy and apprehending the culprits”, Ogbonna said.
But a source who pleaded anonymity for security purposes at the Umuehilegbu Industrial Market on Wednesday told News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the killing was the result of a power tussle.
He said that Umuehilegbu Industrial Market Shoe Makers wanted to be separated from other leather workers in the market.
“So they formed an association and conducted an election and enthroned a chairman in the person of Chief Ariwodo.
“But that did not go down well with former leaders of the group who wanted the shoemakers to be together with the other leather workers in the value chain for easy manipulation.
“That was how those former leaders began to terrorize and intimidate the newly formed shoemakers association and its members.
“And on Tuesday, May 23, at about 8: 00 pm when the traders had all gone home, the former leaders’ group came and shot dead one security man working for the association’s members.
“The most painful thing about this young man’s death is that his wife just gave birth three days ago”, he said.
The source further said that on Wednesday evening he saw a convoy of over ten Hilux Police Vans carrying Rapid Response Squad men and normal Policemen all armed.
He said that the policemen entered the market to collect the corpse of the murdered security man but were not allowed to take the corpse.
“The Policemen wanted to collect the corpse of the murdered security man working for the newly formed Umuehilegbu Industrial Market Shoe Makers Association.
“But the dead man’s family and the leaders of the association fearing that the corpse which had become evidence will be disposed of and the matter quashed, refused handing it over to Police.
“They rather dressed the dead man up, wore him shoes and cap, and set him on a motorcycle in-between the rider and another man and moved him out of the market”, he said.
He further said that the killing of the innocent young security man angered the shoemakers, further resulting in protests in Aba by the shoemakers.
He said that after the protest which the Police was aware of but did not act on, some unidentified persons went and burnt the shops of the group that allegedly killed the man.
He also said that the unknown persons also burnt the residences of the group who allegedly killed the security man.
Every effort made by NAN to reach the leaders of the groups failed as their phone numbers were switched off and their offices and shops under lock and key