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Monday, July 22, 2024

“I’m Being Criticized Unjustly” — Soludo’s Appointee Clears the Air over Alleged Clash with G.U.O. Driver

By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Awka Capital Territory Development Authority (ACTDA), Mr. Ossy Onuko has cleared the air over what he described as an altercation between him and a driver of the G.U.O. Motors on Friday.

It would be recalled that the social media was awashed with videos and posts showing a clash scene, where the ACTDA MD was said to have ordered his officers and touts to beat up a driver of the G.U.O. Motors “just because he overtook his convoy”.

The viral posts also accused the ACTDA MD of using the said touts to harass and intimidate the driver because he had no one to speak for him.

The posts however generated mixed reactions among the social media users, most of whom argued based on what they heard and the scenes painted in the video.

Meanwhile, while the videos and the posts portrayed the part of the driver, the other side of the story appeared to be unknown to the public.

However, in his reaction, following the public outcry, the accused, Mr. Onuko, cleared the air and also gave his own narrative of what he said transpired between him and the said driver.

Mr. Onuko’s statement was contained in a statement made available to newsmen on Friday, in which he said he was surprised with the rate at which the story was misinterpreted and fed half-baked to the public by the social media users and the bloggers who did not care to get his own side, as is ethically required.

According to Mr. Onuko, in his own narrative, he was never with any convoy as was alleged in the report, nor with any tout as was also alleged.

He said: “I have been inundated with calls and messages from well-meaning friends, colleagues and ndi Anambra over a video clip that has gone viral on social media regarding an altercation between a GUO driver and myself, the Managing Director/Cheif Executive Officer of Awka Capital Territory Development Authority.

“I wish to state clearly the facts as they are, as I owe this to the public we graciously serve. Certainly, I cannot take their sensibility for granted.

“This afternoon, I had finished my exams from the Igbariam campus of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University and was on the way to my office in Awka, driving in the company of two civil defence officers seated in the back seat of my Toyota Hilux vehicle (there was no convoy). Suddenly, at Ukpo axis of the Enugu/Onitsha expressway, I sighted a white coloured GUO vehicle speedily approaching and trying to overtake me, given that the express road is still being used as a two-way drive, he could not meet up with his moves to overtake me and series of other vehicles in the line, as two heavy-duty trucks were approaching; he suddenly veered into my lane, it would have been a serious disaster and a lot of losses would have been counted if not for divine grace and my swift effort to steer my wheel rightly.

“The said driver sped off without any sign of remorse, this infuriated me and the officers I had in my car. However, we continued with our journey, getting to Amawbia flyover we hoped to stop the driver at the police checkpoint there to ensure he was okay and know the reasons behind his reckless driving because I thought I owed that as a duty to other road users. Unfortunately in the same vein, he sped off. We knew we could still get him at their office in Awka because they have a park at UNIZIK junction. However, he stopped not at their park, but at the opposite Enugu Motor Park.

“The two Civil Defence officers fully kitted in their uniforms, approached him and asked him to alight from his bus, he locked up himself and his passengers in the bus and even attempted to overrun the officers with his vehicle. At this point the atmosphere was very heated, I had to call the police and Community-based vigilante within the environment.

“While this was going on the young man eventually came down and started insulting everyone including the officers with me.

“When I sighted the vigilante group vehicle, I narrated what happened to them, and told them the police were also coming and that the man should be taken to the police station for proper check as I did not think he was in the right frame of mind to be driving. Then I drove off from the scene as they made moves to take him with them. At this time, about 100 youths that heard I was having altercations at UNIZIK junction had already assembled. I enjoined them to go about their duties and let the security operatives do their job.

“A few minutes later in the office, the driver called me and apologised. By then about 5 other drivers/staff of GUO who are my friends were in my office to also apologise on his behalf. I immediately told them I needed no apologies and that if not for the actions of the young man, this matter wouldn’t have escalated to the police station. I called the DPO and asked him to bail the young man if they were convinced that he was fit to drive. The DPO released him immediately.

“I also learnt later on that the young man resisted arrest which led to a lot of violent conduct in his arrest, I take full responsibility for all that, and I also apologise to the young man, his company GUO, and my friends and well-wishers who have been embarrassed by my association with such act.”


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