By Nwabueze Okonkwo
The timely intervention of a police team from Awada Police Division in Anambra state saved a vigilante operative attached to NIPCO Petrol Station from being lynched by angry residents of Ohiri and Anene Close by Ezeiweka road in Awada metropolis.
The vigilante operative who the residents simply identified as Chika, according to the source, was suspected to have connived with some vandals to vandalize an electric transformer located at Ezeiweka road which is feeding electricity to the residents of nearby Ohiri and Anene Close.
Trouble was said to have set in at about 1 a.m. Tuesday when the electric light suddenly went off and the residents who suspected foul play, rushed to the location of the transformer and behold, they saw some vandals who abandoned their cutters and other instruments used to vandalize the cables and fled.
As the vandals fled, the residents saw the vigilante operative whose duty post, NIPCO petrol station is located directly opposite the vandalized transformer, answering calls and patrolling up and down and they suspected that he was a collaborator with the fleeing vandals, they gripped him and snatched his phone to find out who he was discussing with.
Angered by this development, the suspected vigilante operative rushed to Awada Police Division and lodged a complaint against one Kelvin Nnadi, one of the residents that collected his phone from him.
On sighting him early in the morning within his duty post, the angry residents, seeing that two of the four armoured cables which connected electricity to them had already been cut off by the vandals, gripped the operative, beat him to a pulp, and were interrogating him to tell them the truth about his alleged connivance with the vandals, the police team from Awada Division stormed the area, rescued him and took him to the station where he was detained.
Confirming the incident to newsmen, the chairman of the transformer otherwise known as Dumez Transformer, Hon. Walter Ohiri lamented that the vandals had removed some blocks used in fencing the transformer and gained entrance into the area.
Ohiri further lamented that the same transformer was vandalized by the same group of vandals about three months ago and kept them in perpetual darkness until the residents levied themselves and coughed out as much as N400,000 to replace the vandalized items.
Flanked by some other residents, Nick Okoye, Nnamdi Ohagu and Chukwudi Ezeoke, Hon. Ohiri contended that the vigilante operative was deeply involved in the act or else he would have alerted them or the police when the vandals were committing the act based on the discussion he was having with the fleeing vandals and besides, the transformer is located directed opposite the petrol station which is his duty post.
He said the residents would stop paying security levies henceforth since the area is not secured, adding that ironically, the landlords had just increased their security levy from N200 per flat per month to N400 per flat per month.
Efforts to get in touch with the Divisional Police Officer at Awada, proved abortive as policemen in the administration department referred newsmen to the Station Officer, S. O. as it would take much time to see the DPO because he was too busy and above all, many other visitors were also waiting to see him.
However, the state Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Tochukwu Ikenga, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, DSP, who confirmed the incident, said Police operatives rescued a suspect that was about to be set ablaze by a mob within Ezeiweka road of Awada.
According to the PPRO, “Preliminary investigation into the matter has just begun to ascertain the true position of the incident”.