By Ushang Ewa
The Cross River State chapter of the African Action Congress (AAC) has called for a “snap investigation and possible prosecution” of the team from the Department of Public Transportation (DOPT) which caused the death of a hawker simply identified as Michael on Friday in Calabar.
Michael was said to have attempted retrieving his wares seized by the DOPT officials when he was knocked down by their vehicle and died on the spot. His death has generated backlash barely 24 hours after the media was awash with praises for the State for its rice revolution.
And, the AAC in a statement by its Chairman, Citizen Agba Jalingo issued on Saturday said that the position of the Director General of the Department, Mr. Godwin Nyiam that it was an accident was a “hasty” conclusion and called for an investigative panel to be set up.
The statement read: “The Cross River State Government must carry out a snap investigation and possible prosecution of the enforcement team from the Department of Public Transportation DOPT that caused the death of a hawker, Mr. Michael on Friday in Calabar.
“Michael who is now deceased, leaving behind a young wife and four children, was allegedly killed by DOPT officials who were clearing road obstruction.
“The Director General of DOPT has described the death as an accident. The AAC considers that conclusion very hasty until a proper investigation is done by neutral agencies of government.
“As a party, while we note that it is true that some staff of the department have been harassed in some locations where they go to do their work, it is also worrisome that majority of the DOPT operatives behave like or are actual thugs. They lack basic diplomacy as required of law enforcement agents in their operations, a factor that may be contributing to fueling their incessant face-off with the public.
“The AAC in Cross River state is demanding a constitution of a panel to investigate the circumstances that led to the death of Michael and bring those responsible to book.”
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