Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 15 January 2016 | 2,461 times
There are indications that Abia State Government may clamp down on private motor unions operating at the ultra-modern Ohiya Motor Park in Umuahia, the state capital, if constant attacks on staff of the state-owned transport firm, Abia Line Network Company Ltd. (ALNC), is not curtailed.
It was gathered that staff of the ALNC operating at the Ohiya motor park have come under constant assaults by thugs (popularly known as agberos) allegedly belonging to other motor unions as a result of passenger poaching and issues of loading bay encroachment. The latest of such attacks, News Express learnt, which took place on 4th and 5th of this month, left about three ALNC staff seriously injured.
According to a Supervisor of ALNC, Elder Uzodinma Nwagwu, who witnessed the attack, thugs from the motor unions allegedly invaded their loading bay on the 4th and 5th of this month and efforts by an ALNC driver toward them off sparked the fight. He added that they have been receiving threats to stop loading at the Ohiya motor park while lamenting the continued attacks on their staff.
Victims of the attack, Chuks Emenemba and Miçhael Amike of ALNC, while narrating their ordeals from their hospital beds at the Federal Medical Centre, Umuahia, said they were beaten black and blue, and injured by the thugs while they were trying to save one of their staff who was also beaten to coma with iron while resisting the attackers from encroaching on their loading bay at the park.
Speaking on the attack, General Manager of ALNC, Mr Ugochukwu Uwaeke, said staff of the firm have experienced several attacks since 2013 at their Ohiya motor park loading bay, and wondered why any reasonable person would attack a government-owned transport company.
Uwaeke urged the government to act fast to save Abia Line from further attacks as well as call to order, a member of the National Union of Road Transport Workers who allegedly vowed to vent his anger on ALNC Ltd since he failed to realise his ambition of becoming the national chairman of NURTW.
The state government, through the Commissioner for Transport, Mrs Nnenna Obewu-Onwuka, has strongly condemned the attack on the ALNC staff which led to the hospitalisation of victims of the attack, adding that government would take appropriate action once the report of the attack was received.
She warned that the state government would not tolerate unnecessary attacks on its citizens and called on transport unions at the motor park to eschew violence but ensure peace at the park. Leaders of the unions could not be reached as at the time of this publication.
•Photo shows Abia Governor Okezie Ikpeazu.
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