UMUAHIA — PANDEMONIUM broke out at the popular Isigate area of Umuahia, the Abia State capital, yesterday, following an altercation between soldiers and some Keke operators.
The cause of the disagreement which led to the altercation was not clear as there were three different versions to the story.
One version alleged that soldiers tried to extort money from a keke operator who alleged refused to part with his money. The keke man was alleged to have even overpowered the soldier, disarmed him and removed the magazine in his gun and hit him with it.
Another version of the story alleged that the Keke operator hit the soldier’s vehicle, a situation that triggered an altercation between them and alleged fisticuffs.
Yet another version said that two soldiers at Isigate saw a Keke operator who was wearing a cap with inscription of ‘Biafra’ and one of them approached him to demand that he removed it, a request he turned down, leading to the altercation which attracted other keke operators in solidarity with their colleague.
The situation was said to have made the soldiers to shoot into the air to scare them.
It was not possible to confirm any of these versions as several calls made to the Army public relations officer Ohafia was not answered.
But the Abia State police commissioner, Mr. Leye Oyebade confirmed that there was a problem between soldiers and keke operators but said they have “doused the tension” and everywhere was calm. He however said they were monitoring the situation.
The security adviser to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Rtd Captain Agwu Udensi was seen last night at Isigate trying to monitor and ensure that there was no breach of the peace.
He was said to have been directed by the deputy governor, Ude Oko Chukwu to ensure that the situation was brought under control.
As the time of filing this report, security operatives were seen patrolling the capital city.