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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Protest, As Keke Riders, Igala Brethren Mourn 20-yr-old Colleague Murdered in Anambra Bush by Hoodlums, Say One Person Still Missing (video)

 

By Izunna Okafor, Awka

Peaceful protest and demonstration rocked Awka, the capital city of Anambra State on Friday, as members of the Igala Community living in the State expressed their grievances and displeasure over the gruesome murder of one of their members, Augustine Kulubi, a 20-year-old commercial Keke driver.

Kulubi, a native of Orunu Village, in Igala-Mela Odulu Local Government Area of Kogi State, was reportedly murdered by yet-to-be-identified hoodlums in a bush in Urum community, Awka North Local Government Area of Anambra State. He was said to be resident in Mgbakwu (also in Awka North Local Government Area) from where he was going to work as a Keke driver, to make ends meet, being the breadwinner of the family and his parents who live in Kogi State.

The 20-year-old hustler, however, reportedly got missing on Sunday, May 28, 2024, after he heft for his tricycle work and never returned. Both his family and his Igala brethren resident in Anambra became worried about his disappearance and whereabouts, such that they launched an intensive search for him, visiting various hospitals and police stations to ask of him, all to no avail.

Inquiries revealed that the search continued, till on Thursday, May 30, when the people received information about a corpse found in a bush in Urum community, and where they immediately rushed to, only to discover that it was a decomposing body of their brother, Mr. Kulubi, with injuries on his body, while his tricycle, his phone and other belongings he went out with are nowhere to be found, till date.

Augustine’s corpse was, thereafter, deposited at the St. Raphael Mortuary, Isuaniocha (also in Awka North Local Government Area), while his burial was emergently scheduled for Friday, May 31, 2024, by his people.

The burial, which held at his hometown, Orunu in Kogi State, was, however, preceded by a peaceful demonstration at Awka, the capital city of Anambra State on Friday, by Keke drivers, with his Igala brethren taking the lead, as they took to the street with their tricycles and motorcycles to express their grievances over the said gruesome murder of the young colleague.

The tricyclists and some motorcyclists, who converged at the Regina Caeli Junction in Awka, hoisted and attached fresh leaves and the burial poster of the deceased on their tricycles and motorcycles, as they drove round the streets in spectacular ways, in expression of their displeasure with what they described as the sudden and painful death of Augustine, who they insisted, was murdered by the ill-minded hoodlums who also robbed him of his tricycle and other belongings.

This reporter, Izunna Okafor, who monitored the protest, observed that it recorded massive participation, even though it partially slowed down human and vehicular movements in the areas within the short period of time it held.

Speaking in an interview with this reporter, a member of the Igala Brethren and Keke rider, Mr. David Akwu, described the deceased as a very quite and hardworking fellow, which made them give him the nickname “Omoja” (meaning Grandmother’s Pikin in Igala language).

According to him, Augustine left for work as usual on Sunday, only to get missing and never to return alive.

He said: “The guy in question is my brother. So, on the Sunday, he left for work. That’s about six days ago now. He’s a Keke driver.

“So, since that Sunday, we had been looking for him everywhere. We’ve been to many places, including police stations, we couldn’t find him.

“So, around 4 to 5 on Thursday, a bike man rushed down to Isu Junction and said that they saw one body lying lifelessly in a bush in Urum.

“So, we now decided to go there and check whether it was our person. So… To the glory of God, we now went there and it was our brother.”

When asked the whereabouts of deceased’s tricycle and the condition of his body when they saw him, Mr. Akwu said there were wounds on the on the already-decomposing corpse of Augustine, while his tricycle, the particulars and his phone were nowhere to be found.

“We did not also see his Keke. We only saw him with wounds where they used something to injure him. He got injured all over his body,” he said.

Further commenting on the gentleman personality and calm lifestyle of the deceased, he described his death as one of the most painful to them. He further revealed that some of their brethren living in Anambra had also suffered similar fate as Augustine, including another Keke driver simply identified as Mr. Ogbe (also from Igala), who has been missing since three weeks ago now and yet to be found.

“We are even still looking for one of our brothers again here, somebody called Ogbe. We have not seen him, since almost three weeks now.

“Also, last year, we recorded a case of a missing person again. So, it is now as if almost every year, our people keep missing. Up to three or four now,” he said, opining that many of the people who target, attack or kill them do so just to snatch their tricycles from them.

Mr. Akwu, while thanking Governor Chukwuma Soludo for ending touting in Anambra, which he said used to be one of their major challenges as Keke drivers in the State; further called for the intervention of the State Government and security agencies in the State in addressing and tackling what he described as “the recurring cases of abduction and murder in the state.”

“So, we are begging on the government of the state to, at least, reinforce and help us. They should find a way to address this, even if it involves recruiting more vigilante members. They should ensure our roads are well secured; because most of these people that are snatching people’s Keke will still be driving it if they change some things on it; but, they will not change or go with the papers,” he hinted.

He, however, alleged that some police officers who position along the road no longer ask Keke drivers about the particulars of their tricycle, but only extort money from them and bid them farewell, without questioning or ascertaining the true ownership of the tricycles they are riding.

While noting that trends like this help to encourage criminality against Keke drivers in the state, Akwu said: “We also recently recorded a case of one pastor who is working with us here in this park. About last three weeks, they snatched his keke from him. They even left him half dead. But to the glory of God, the man did not lose his life. So we are begging on the government of the state, led by Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, to please come to our aid.

“We, the Keke riders, are crying. Some of us are not from Anambra, but we like Anambra, and that was why many of us left our different states to come here to hustle. But in this town now, we can no longer buy and drive new keke in peace, because those bad people will start targeting us, to kill and snatch it away from us. So, we want the government and security agencies in Anambra to come to our rescue.”

“This is really getting out of hands; and we pay our taxes regularly to the government. So, they should do everything possible to secure us and make our roads safe for us. Just imagine the little boy that came here to hustle for his life and the good of his family, and he is now going back as a corpse. Very soon now, we will take off to Kogi with his corpse for his burial. Abeg, bro, I no wan talk about this again, bro,” he said, looking away for solace.

When contacted by this reporter for his reaction on the incident, the Spokesperson of the Anambra State Police Command, SP Ikenga Tochukwu, said there was no such report before him.

“There is no report like that before me,” the Police Imagemaker said in a chat with the reporter.

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