A commercial driver, on Tuesday, bit off the finger of a taskforce member in Ebonyi State to escape arrest.
The driver also swallowed the finger of the taskforce member identified as Iboko Kenneth.
The incident occurred at the Onuebonyi Junction in the Abakaliki metropolis, when the Ministry of Capital City Development and the taskforce team were on an inspection tour within the state capital to stop illegal parking and loading.
Recall that commercial transport companies operating in the state had penultimate week relocated to Akubaraoha Central park, a new park provided for them by the state government.
The driver, it was further learnt, was among those spotted at the Onuebonyi Junction who engaged in illegal loading of passengers. When the taskforce attempted to arrest him, he was said to have bitten off the finger of one of them.
The victim has, however, been taken to the emergency unit of the Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki.
Speaking with journalists in Abakaliki, on Tuesday, the Commissioner for Capital City Development, Chief Onyekachi Nwebonyi, described the incident as terrible, unexpected and barbaric.
He said, “It is very unfortunate that a driver can attack a law officer who is trying to organise the state to the point of chopping off his finger. This is terrible, unexpected and barbaric.
“So, I want to plead with the motorists not to pull our 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 taskforce 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. 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. If you go there now, the park is very peaceful, businesses are going on, no complain.
“As the government, we are doing our best to fence the place and put internal roads and other social amenities.
“But we have discovered with dismay that some drivers are bent on operating from the streets instead of doing the needful and by joining their colleagues at the central park.
“My encounter with them this morning is evidence to that assertion. Along waterworks road, behind the police checkpoints there, we saw over 10 buses loading Enugu and Onitsha.
“We also took a patrol to Onuebonyi Junction where we saw 11 trucks, buses, and Sienna buses loading there not minding our repeated warnings to that effect.”
PUNCH Metro reports that the taskforce arrested five drivers for illegal loading.
According to the Commissioner, the arrested drivers would be arraigned in court.