By; PAMELA EBOH, Awka
There is palpable tension in Anambra State following alleged hacking to death of two members of Anambra State Tippers Association (ASTA).
The victims, 20-year-old Mazi Chigaemezumkpa Nwafor, a native of Ndiakunwata-Nkwo Fada, Arondizuogu in Okigwe council Area of Imo State and Sunday Anekwe, an indigene of Anam in Anambra West LGA of Anambra State were said to have been killed by some youth suspected to be members of the Anambra State Great Tipper Association of Nigeria and Sand Miners Association.
Speaking on the incident, the leadership of ASTA in the state said they are suspecting an alleged unholy romance between the court restrained Tipper Union, Miners Association of Nigeria and the senator representing Anambra South senatorial zone, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah as the only reason why their rivial union has refused to obey the court order.
When contacted, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah’s Head Media and Strategic Communications, Comrade Kamen Chuks Ogbonna distanced his principal from the lawless group alleged action.
He described Ubah as a bridge builder who does not believe in factions saying, “The Distingushed Senator is not even aware of any factions in the tipper unions and has no hands whatsoever in any crisis amongst them, my principal will even be gladly to bring both factions to dialogue if his attention is called to this crisis.”
He called on police authorities to ensure perpetrators of the hideous crime do not escape through the backdoor
On his part, the National Chairman of ASTA expressed shock that one of the Deputy Inspector General of Police in Abuja is mountimg pressure on the Homicide Section of the Nigeria Police, Anambra State Command to release the suspects that murdered their members.
He added, “Even as I address the press now, the DIG who hid his identity has mounted serious pressure on the State Police Command to transfer the case file to his Abuja office as an escape route for the murder suspects.
“It is on this premises that we are calling on the governmnet of Anambra State and the Inspector General of Police to do the needful in arresting and prosecuting any person (s) linked with the murder of Sunday Anekwe and Chigaemezumkpa Nwafor.
Recall that on Tuesday, January 12 2021, during a meeting of ASTA members in Nanka, Orumba North Local Government Area of the state, one Ebuka Unekwe, Emmanuel Ezeokafor, Jerry Ifejika, Chika Ezenwa among others allegedly attacked ASTA members with guns and other dangerous weapons.
It was gathered that Unekwe and Ifejika allegedly pointed their guns at one Hon. Sir. Stanley Nkwoka and also shot in the air severally, thereby creating fear among the members of ASTA.
Information has it that on the day of the incident, the deceased youths had gone for their legitimate daily routine duty as welfare revenue collectors for their union, only to be allegedly hacked to death by some youths suspected to be members of the ASTA rivial union that is opposing the existence of ASTA as the sole tipper drivers union in Anambra State.
Before the muder incident, ASTA had approached the Industrial Court of Nigeria sitting in Awka before His Lordship, Hon. Justice John I. Targema and filled Exparte Application in Suit No. NICN/AKW/28/2020, seeking and among other things, an order of interim injunction restraining Tippers Drivers Association of Nigeria and Miners Association of Nigeria their agents, servants, privies, or any persons acting for or on their behalf from further demanding,, extorting or collecting any money at all from the claimants/applicants pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The Court documents however showed that the court had since restrained Sand Miners Association of Anambra State, Sir. Christopher Mgbegbu, Mr. Obiora Chukwuma, the Incorporated Trustees of Great Tippers Drivers Association of Nigeria, Nze Ebuka Unekwe, Jerry Ifejika together with their agents, servants, privies, any persons acting for or on behalf from further demanding,, extorting or collecting any money at all from the ASTA members pending the hearing of the motion on notice already before the Court but instead of obeying the Court order, they opted for the violent option.