A yet-to-be identified commercial vehicle driver in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, yesterday bit off the finger of a middle-aged man who is a member of the Capital City Development Taskforce Team, Iboko Kenneth, to escape arrest.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the driver bit off the victim’s finger and swallowed it despite the struggle by Iboko to free himself from the grip of the commercial driver.
In an interview with the victim at the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital (E-FETHA 2) where he was rushed for medical attention, Iboko said the incident occurred at Onuebonyi junction in Abakaliki metropolis.
He said trouble started when the State Ministry of Capital City Development and its task force team were inspecting the state capital to ensure that there were no illegal parks within the capital city after all the commercial transport companies relocated to a new park known as Akubaraoha Central Park provided for them by the state government.
He said that on getting to the Onuebonyi junction, some drivers were seen loading passengers, which angered the ministry officials and the taskforce.
He said the commissioner for capital city development ordered that the vehicles be impounded adding that in the process, one of the commercial drivers resisted the taskforce team despite several appeals for him to come to their office to iron out things with the ministry.
“While other drivers complied, we attempted to take the car key from him and immediately, he got hold of my hand and bit off one of my fingers. Despite all my struggle to free myself from his grip, he held unto my hand.
“To the amazement of many, he didn’t just bite off the finger bit he swallowed it and immediately took to his heels and escaped,” he said.
Commenting on the incident, the commissioner for capital city development, Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi, described it as terrible, unexpected and barbaric.
He said, “It is very unfortunate that a driver can attack a law officer who is trying to organize the state to the point of chopping off his finger, this is terrible, unexpected and it is barbaric.
“So, I want to plead with the motorists not to pull out legs because the taskforce are not weak and we do our job within the confines of the law but for a driver to chop-off a task force finger is unacceptable and I assure you that we will get to the root of the matter, it will not happen again.
“We are not using force but the problem is that our people are stubborn, particularly the motorists, some of them anyway.
“But before them, I want to commend some of the transport companies for their cooperation so far that led to the peaceful relocation of the parks within the city to the central park known as Akubaraoha Abakaliki Central Park and if you go there now, the park is very peaceful, businesses are going on, no complaint,” he said.