By: Izunna Okafor, Awka
What could be better described as a dramatic assassination recently played out at the popular Unizik Junction of Awka, the Anambra State capital, as unknown gunmen literally gunned down a popular and top-ranking Keke Union leader in the state.
The highly influential tricycle union leader popularly known as Prince was said to have been taken unawares by his well-organised, blood-thirsty assailants, suspected to be members of a deadly cult group.
According to eyewitnesses, the gunmen, suspected to had been alerted by a trusted fellow, arrived the Unizik Keke park with tinted-glassed Toyota Sienna vehicle; and on sighting their target, Prince at the front of the garage, they immediately opened fire on him. As the first gunshot sounded, all the traders, hawkers, and tricyclists around the park immediately took to their feet, and sprinted for safety. And the entire area became clear and deserted immediately, giving enough space for the drama.
The act surprisingly became more dramatic, as the fired bullets unhurtfully splashed on Prince and dropped on the floor, extolling the uncommon might of his Odieshi and its indomitability.
However, seeing his attackers advancing further towards him with more gunshots, he immediately took to his feet, but was hurriedly blocked and overpowered by the gunmen, who fiercely axed him until blood gushed out.
Sighting the blood, the men knew they had conquered his Odeshi; and they then drew back a little and opened fire on him again, which then successfully ‘entered’, as the defeated Prince bowed to their bullets, and gave up the ghost; while the men ‘confirmed’ him dead, and immediately jumped into their vehicles and zoomed off without trace.
No policeman, according to the eyewitnesses, was seen around the area, throughout the period of the attack, until the gunmen finished executing their mission and left.
It was after then that people started drawing close to the scene with fear and shock, beholding the lifeless body of Prince on the ground.
According to a credible source, the slain Prince, who hailed from Ifitedunu in Dunukofia Local Government of Anambra State, was newly married and has a little daughter.
When interviewed on what could be the reason for the assassination, a tricycle operator who pleaded anonymity, described Prince as a just and peaceful man, and revealed that his assassination may be linked to Keke leadership tussle in Awka, as certain group is threatening to overthrow the incumbent and take over the collection of toll from tricycle riders in the state capital.
He said, “Even the state government knows who these people are, and they also know the trouble between these rival factions.
“There is a big man who is in charge of collecting toll at bus stations in Awka, but the ones in charge of collecting tricycle toll want to upstage the ones collecting bus toll to add it to their revenue window.
“This tussle has been on for a while now, and you know that these Keke riders are mostly members of one cult or the other, so the tussle has taken the shape of cult rivalry.”
Some of the tricyclists called on the state government, the state’s Commissioner for Transportation, various security agencies and other relevant agencies to wade into the situation and intervene, to avoid more bloodshed, which breeds insecurity in the capital city.