8 burnt to death as NSCDC operatives shoot bus in Enugu

8 people reportedly died in a tragic incident which occurred at Milikin Hill Road, Enugu, just after officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) opened fire on a commercial bus.

The incident occurred near Enugu headquarters of the NSCDC, after the driver of a bus which had barely left Enugu New Market, refused to stop and sped away as the NSCDC men chased him in a Hilux van.

It was gathered that other operatives of the security agency, boarded a tricycle to join in the chase along Milikin Hill Road, which is bordered on both sides by a deep valley. The vehicle reportedly went up in flames, after the civil defence officers shot at it, causing it to veer off the road and crash into the valley.

Commercial bus drivers and other sympathisers, particularly natives of Ngwo town, where the passengers were reportedly heading for before they met tragic end, who led a protest at the office of the NSCDC around New Market, were repelled by heavily armed operatives who barricaded the road leading to the office and shooting into the air.

Punch reported that a witness who  refused to identify himself, claimed that the driver of the commercial bus had refused to give the NSCDC a bribe before they started chasing the vehicle.

    “The incident happened because the driver refused to give them a bribe when they stopped him. They went after him, shot at the vehicle and seven people lost their lives,” he said.

Punch also reported that at the scene of the crash on Millikin Hill, it was observed that the commercial bus was totally burnt, and the charred remains of a passenger were trapped under the vehicle, which was lying on its back inside the valley.

An FRSC official who confirmed the incident, said the corpses of three passengers had been moved to an undisclosed hospital morgue and that the civil defence personnel involved in the incident had been taken into custody.

It was also gathered that the sole survivor of the crash, was taken to the office of the Enugu State Commissioner of Police, Mohammed Danmallam. Danmallam, who later arrived at the protest scene, said the girl had been hospitalised and could not talk.

He said investigations had commenced, adding that some suspects had been arrested.

    He said, “This type of thing should not be allowed; we have made arrests. Investigations have started and we are asking people who witnessed what happened to come forward to make statements.
    “We assure you that nobody involved would be allowed to go scot-free. This is not the type of case that can be swept under the carpet.
    “I learnt that they (NSCDC officials) were chasing the bus; but I don’t know for what offence.
    “I want to assure the people that nobody is above the law. Whoever breaks the law of the land will face the consequence.”

Speaking to newsmen on the incident, the Public Relations Officer of the NSCDC, Enugu State Command, Mr. Denny-Manuel Iwuchukwu, said that the bus driver “abducted” a civil defence officer who entered the vehicle to force the driver to stop for violating traffic regulations.

He further said that the bus fell into the valley, and burst into flames while the driver was running away from the NSCDC men, who were chasing the vehicle to rescue their colleague.
    “The state government ordered that commercial buses should no longer pick passengers outside the motor park and our men are enforcing the order.
    “Today, the driver picked passengers outside the park and he was asked to stop, but he refused. So, one of our men entered the bus and the driver took off with him, thereby abducting him.
    “He was told to stop, but he refused. We chased him and he fell inside the ditch. Our official has been found. He was injured; he can’t even talk at the moment” he said.

Iwuchukwu claimed nobody died in the accident.

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