The ongoing demolition of illegal structures and unapproved buildings in Owerri, Imo state, nearly took the lives of mechanics at the Orji mechanic village in Owerri North council area, when Gov. Rochas Okorocha in a bid to force the relocation of the mechanics, grabbed an AK-47 rifle from one of the security agents in his convoy and started firing amidst a crowd of people gathered in the area.
Pointblanknews.com gathered the Okorocha had directed the mechanics to relocate to Avu along Owerri – Port Harcourt expressway. But a cross section of the mechanics told our correspondent that the governor is yet to fully acquire the land from the Avu community and has not made any effort to develop the site to allow the mechanics relocate.
An eyewitness told Pointblanknews.com that Okorocha had earlier met with the mechanics where he solicited their cooperation to relocate from the area, and granted them 2 weeks. On the way back to their shops, the mechanics who were dissatisfied by Okorocha’s decision to relocate them within 2 weeks, destroyed billboards bearing the governor’s image and made bonfire at the ‘Ama wire’ junction and other spots along Okigwe road, which caused tension in the area.
When news got to Okorocha, the governor raced to the area and ordered his security details to arrest the protesting mechanics, and in a moment of rage, joined in the fray.
The governor was said to have jumped down from his vehicle and grabbed one of the protesting mechanics, but the latter struggled to free himself from Okorocha’s grip leading to the governor losing his balance. Angered by the development, Okorocha collected an AK-47 gun from one of his security details and starting firing into the air.
Some of the mechanics who insisted on salvaging their property were arrested by the Police who took over from the governor and continued shooting sporadically. When the fracas died down, more than 15 mechanics had sustained vary degree of injuries. The arrested mechanics are yet to be released as at the time of filing this report.
Okorocha later announced that the two weeks he gave the mechanics to relocate from the Orji mechanic village has been reduced to 24 hours since they disobeyed his order.