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Eight feared dead in Enugu as bus allegedly chased by NSCDC officials fell into ditch

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No fewer than eight persons, including the bus driver, allegedly lost their lives as the commuter bus they were travelling in yesterday fell into a ditch at the Miliken Hills valley, following the alleged shooting of the bus by officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) who were on their chase.

The bus had ignited immediately it felled into the ditch. One passenger was said to have escaped with injuries and is currently recuperating at the hospital, while the dead bodies had been deposited at the Eastern Nigeria Medical Centre Morgue.

The commuters were said to be Ngwo natives who had gone to sell or buy from the new market and were returning home.

Trouble was said to have started when the bus driver allegedly stopped and picked a passenger from a spot that was considered unlawful and when encountered by the officials, sped off. He was said to have been chased by the NDSDC officials in tricycle.

Meanwhile, the police in Enugu prevented what could have led to total breakdown in law and order following protests by residents of Ngwo in Enugu North Local Council over the incident.

The Ngwo natives, made up of men, women and joined by traders and bus drivers at the new market, who bore placards and green leaves, had attempted to march to the Enugu office of Command, which was few minutes away from the scene of the incident when the officials opened fire on them.

Tension was high in Enugu metropolis as the protesters retreated, blocked entrances to the Miliken Hills, Ngwo Old Road and chanting war songs.

One of the bus drivers, whose windscreen was shattered by bullets allegedly fired by civil defence officials said: “We are still talking about the lives they snuffed out of several people few minutes ago and they are still baying for blood. Look at my windscreen how they shattered it.

“Are they not supposed to be shooting in the air, or even use rubber bullets? But see what they have just done.”

The state Police Commissioner, Danmallam Mohammed, described the incident as unfortunate, stressing that they would not allow anyone jeopardise the peace in Enugu State.

He said: “What happened is very unfortunate, especially with the peace we are enjoying. This kind of thing should not be allowed. That’s the reason why I am here. I have appealed to them, they should leave everything to us.”
  
However, the spokesman of the NSCDC in Enugu, Denny Manuel Iwuchukwu, said no gunshot was fired on the commercial bus involved in the accident.
 
“We have a directive from the state government that nobody should pick passengers along that road. So, when the driver stopped to pick passengers, our operatives told him that it was wrong for him to do that.
 
“As our man entered the bus, he zoomed off with him. So, other officers on ground chased after him. In the process, the bus fell into the ditch. We chased after the vehicle because he drove off with our man. However, not gunshot was fired”, he claimed.


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