Fourteenth day of April was a bleak day for Mrs Akaninyene Nnonno, a mother of five and petty trader in Akwa Ibom State as the news of the untimely death of her husband, a 38-year-old tricycle operator ‘hit’ her.
Mrs Nnonno a 34-year-old pregnant mother was said to have been made a widow by the activities of the Compliance and Monitoring Team (ticket sellers) of the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Transport and Petroleum.
This happened less than a year after the untimely death of Mrs Anwanabasi Eshiet, a mother of two who died in the brutal hands of the monitoring team of the same ministry in the state.
Recounting her loss, the young widow lamented that her husband’s untimely death had truncated the future they both planned for their children.
The petty trader who recounted that her husband met his untimely death shortly after dropping off her goods at the market, lamented that life was only made easier for her, especially with her present condition, with the care, assistance and support of her husband.
“I was told that some of these ticket sellers were chasing an AKTC bus driver who knocked down my husband while attempting to flee”.
“Shortly after dropping off my daughter and some goods, I asked my husband to bring to me to the market, my husband’s friend came and asked me to follow him, that my husband had an accident. We were initially informed he was taken to TOAN office, when we got there, I was handed his torn shirt and wallet, but he was not there”.
“We were later directed to the Police Station, Itam, when we got there, we were told that he was later taken to the hospital, that we should wait for the DPO. We waited till the man finally arrived hours later. He informed me that my husband was dead. I have not been allowed to see his corpse, but they told me that he was hit on the chest and forehead, and that he was taken to one mortuary along Atiku Abubakar Way”.
” I don’t know how to start or continue my life from here, we were struggling together to care for these children, now look at my condition, look at the hardship their reckless attitude has put me and my children through,” she lamented.
Narrating the circumstances which led to the death of his member, the state chairman, Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TOAN), Mr Effiong Effiong said his deceased
member met his untimely death along Urua Ekpa road while bending by the side of the road to fix a fault in his keke.
He recounted that the Compliance and Monitoring Task Team were chasing an AKTC driver, who in an attempt to flee knocked down the innocent Tricycle rider by the side of the road.
Effiong who disclosed that his association has been liaising with the state ministry of Transport and Petroleum to secure some assistance to the bereaved family, however promised to push hard to ensure that the pregnant widow is well cared for.
The TOAN chairman disclosed that the AKTC bus driver had been arrested by the polic and must be made to face the full weight of the law.
When contacted, the Commissioner for Transport and Petroleum, Mr Orman Esin described what happened as an accident.
“What happened was an accident involving a driver, members of our team and the victim. However, we have met with the bereaved family and we have discussed on how to assist the family and everyone is satisfied and happy,” he said.
The Police Public Relations officer, DSP McDon Odiko when contacted promised to confirm any arrest in connection with the case, but failed to get back to our correspondent as promised.
While the ministry may be warming up to bury yet another innocent Akwa Ibom son and probably an envelop handed over as compensation for the loss of a husband, father of five and son to an aged parents, many have risen in outright condemnation of the reckless attitude of members of the monitoring teams of the Ministry.
A keke rider who does not want his name in print said, ” Please help us tell the commissioner for Transport to call his wild dogs to order. All our papers are complete, but why are we always the victim whenever they chase vehicles, and why on earth should they be chasing drivers in a busy city like Uyo? They should know that innocent people would always fall victims of such recklessness.”