Reaction to the biting effect of the acute fuel scarcity across the country took violent dimension Christmas Day in Lokoja as motorist on transit frustratingly descended on black-marketer by beating him “blue black” over mere communication gap.
The fighters who constituted nuisance that caused momentary traffic on the Lokoja-Ajaokuta highway, according to eyewitnesses, all took to their fisticuffs but the black-marketer was overpowered because he was alone in the fight.
Ugochukwu Onuh, a roadside black-market fuel dealer was given life-threatening beating for over ten minutes by the merciless motorist and his co-traveller until he was lucky to be rescued by some patrolling security operatives, eyewitnesses said.
The fight according to the witnesses, who declined to give their names, began when the black-marketer hopped on the motorist Toyota Jeep with Lagos number EKY104 DQ and smashed its windscreen because he thought the motorist was trying to make away with his money after he had served the vehicle with ten litres of petro.
Ugochukwu, who was in the pool of his own blood after he was beaten blue black by the motorist and his co-traveller, told our reporter that he smashed the windscreen to make the driver to allow him to alight from their moving vehicle.
“After serving the motorist vehicle with a-ten-litre fuel for N3, 000, he made attempt to zoom off with my money and I decided to jump on it to make them give me my money, but he was accelerating as if he was trying to take me away. I had no option but to break his windscreen to force him to stop the vehicle,” he explained
The motorist, Emeka and his brother Ikerionwu who was on the passenger’s side of the vehicle were given severe corporal punishment by soldiers who were infuriated by the inhuman treatment they meted out on the poor black-marketer.
Before taking laws in their own hands, Emeka and Ikerionwu were on transit to the eastern part of Nigeria for the funeral service of their mother who would be buried on Friday.
Emeka who was livid, however, denied he was attempting to take the roadside petty fuel dealer away, saying “I had to drive to a safe place because we were shocked when this guy hopped on our vehicle and was shouting thief! Thief! We did not want to be mobbed by the people because they could think we were really thieves. We had to stop by the soldiers’ vehicle for safety.”
“Again we were so scared because before we could say anything the marketer had already broken our windscreen for no just cause,” he narrated.
The wounded petty dealer, Ugochukwu, Emeka and his brother were arrested by the security operatives and were handed over to officers at the Kogi State Command of the Nigerian Police, where they were cooling their heels as at press time.
They parties, as it was gathered, could be prosecuted for their misdemeanours because the Kogi State Government is interested in the matter.
InsideStory reported authoritatively that the officer in charge to the case who was trying to handle it with levity was called to order by the Chief of Staff to the Kogi State Governor, Hon Edward Onoja, via telephone conversation.