By Anayo Okoli.
UMUAHIA- A newspaper vendor and one of the agents of Vanguard Media Limited, Mr. Agwu Okpara, weekend, escaped death by the whiskers when he was attacked by armed robbers at his news stand on Umuwaya Road, Umuahia, the capital city of Abia State.
It was gathered that he was attacked with machete and other dangerous weapons alongside his brother.
With the cuts on his head, Okpara narrated how the gunmen attacked and disposed them of their money and other valuables in the early hours of Saturday while waiting to receive newspapers for the day.
“I finished my morning prayers around 5 o’clock and was preparing for the day’s sales. When I looked out from my room, I noticed that my brother had already opened the gate and was preparing the newspapers’ stands, so I decided to assist him.
“As we were setting the tables, I looked up and saw four young men with a torchlight emerging from Isigate axis, it was as if they were heading to the railway, all of a sudden, they turned and started coming towards our direction.
“They approached us and enquired from us what we were doing. My brother answered that we were fixing our tables to enable us display our goods.
“One of them probed further to know the kind of goods we sell. My brother also replied that we are newspaper vendors. He looked around in search of the newspapers. When he could not see any, he asked my brother to show him the newspapers.
“My brother pointed at a corner where there were already two parcels of newspapers for distribution and display and also told him that other newspaper company circulation vehicles would also come to drop others.
“While my brother was still responding to the question, a Volkswagen Passat car pulled over to a stop, carrying with it parcels of The Sun Newspapers, The Nation, Vanguard and Business Day. He then told them that his claims have been justified with the arrival of the newspapers.
“We replied to their questions innocently without any suspicion or fear and went on to set the tables. Immediately I left to get the remaining table, I noticed that three of them had gone to meet with the driver of the Passat car, leaving one of them with my brother, under the guise that they wanted to assist the driver offload the newspapers. I even heard one of them said to the driver that he wants to buy a copy of Soccer Star.
“When I returned, I observed that the one they left behind was busy robbing my brother of his possession. Quickly I rushed to enquire from my brother what happened; he said the young man has dispossessed him of his cell phone and cash. I asked the young man why he should do so, knowing well that I am a well-known newspaper vendor in Umuahia and I believe he knows me too.
“Sensing that their tricks was about to fail, one of them brought out a machete and gave me some cuts on my head. I had no option than to leave him and they fled through the rail line. It was a good Samaritan that took me to the hospital for treatment around 6 am”, Okpara said.