On Friday, 13 November 2015 16:17, Elombah.com published a report courtesy of News Agency of Nigeria [NAN] wherein it was said that a teenage hawker in Abuja lost his life while trying to avoid arrest by officials of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board [AEPB].
According to the report, an unidentified young man, who was hawking beverages around the Bolingo Hotel Bridge in Abuja Central Business District, joined others to run for safety on sighting an AEPB official vehicle.
The report further said that in the bid to escape, the hawker fell from the bridge and remained unconscious and was rushed to the National Hospital, Abuja by a police patrol team passing by.
Meanwhile, Joe Ukairo, AEPB Head of Media and Outreach Programmes, said officials of the board did not pursue the hawkers.
Ukairo said: “Whenever they sight our vehicles, they take to their heels and that was what happened in this case.”
Well, Elombah.com can authoritative say that the report was fabricated.
The report was garnished by AEPB and fed to NAN in a bid to avoid public attention and the ensuing consequences.
Elombah.com reliably gathered that the 21 years old teenager was apprehended by AEPB officials when he tried to run but couldn’t do much since he was on a bridge.
However, the young man refused to be whisked away and clung to the rail of the bridge after the soft drinks he hawked was forcefully taken from him by the AEPB officials.
In the heat of the struggle, one of the AEPB officials angrily packed his feet from the ground in an attempt to carry him away.
Consequently, the effort of the young man to wriggle free resulted in loss of control by the AEPB officials and he fell off the bridge and landed in pieces on the ground below.
An eyewitness said that his brain spattered on the ground and he and his fellow hawkers gathered the debris and with the help of a passing police patrol vehicle, took him to National Hospital, Abuja.
On reaching the hospital, the boy was confirmed dead.
To confirm their complicity and guilt in the matter, the Director-General of AEPB offered the family a paltry fifty thousand Naira as, according to him, compensation to the “grave diggers”.
When contacted, the Abuja Commissioner of Police, Mr. Wilson Inalegwu, not only confirmed the incident, but, stated that arrests have been made and investigations underway.
Another heart-rending part of the episode is that the deceased was the only son in the family, according to his father.
It is note-worthy that earlier this year, a combined team of AEPB armed operatives shot a young girl fatally three weeks to her wedding.
The young woman was hit by a stray bullet while in her office in a furniture-dealing edifice where she worked as the sales person.
Aggrieved Abuja residents are disgusted by the activities of AEPB agents who are notorious for extorting bribes from petty traders and are calling for justice to be fully meted to forestall future occurrences.