By Ugochukwu Alaribe
ABA — A businessman, Chief Emeka Diwe, has cried out over the seizure of five trucks and a bus belonging to his company by the deputy general manager, Traffic and Indiscipline Management Agency of Abia State, TIMAAS, Mr. Bright Chinedu Ikokwu, in Aba.
The businessman lamented that the five trucks and bus have been in Mr. Ikokwu’s custody since January 18, 2017, as all efforts made to recover them proved futile, stressing that no official of the agency has written to his company stating the actual reasons the trucks were impounded and where they are being held.
He stated that the continued seizure of his trucks despite the operating permit granted him by the government is contrary to Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu’s efforts at encouraging business investments in the state. But in a swift reaction, Deputy General Manager of TIMAAS, Mr. Bright Chinedu Ikokwu said the impounded trucks contravened Abia State’s Road traffic law number 2 of 2010, section 17, which empowers the traffic management agency to impound trucks obstructing traffic.
In a petition made available to South East Voice, and copied the Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC; Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, as well as the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris; Diwe, who is the Managing Director of Unik D Limited, an agro marketing company, lamented that the continued seizure of the trucks had caused much suffering to his company and employees and urged the Abia State Government to investigate the activities of TIMAAS in the state.
Alleging an attempt to run him out of business, Diwe stated that the TIMAAS DGM had on March 20, impounded another truck belonging to his company, and has been demanding N130,000 to release each of the seized vehicles, an action he said is contrary to Abia State Road Traffic Law 2010 which set up TIMAAS.
He said: “On January 18, 2017, Bright Ikokwu stormed my company premises at No.6 Eziukwu Road with over 15 policemen and soldiers and impounded three trucks while goods were being offloaded. There were other trucks parked in the area, but those belonging to UNIK D Limited were singled out and impounded. This is over eight months now; Mr. Bright Ikokwu has been calling me demanding N130, 000 to release each of the vehicles. Each of these trucks goes for N150, 000 per day; you can see the loss the company is suffering.
On March 20, 2017, along Aba-Owerri road, Mr. Bright Ikokwu, also accosted our truck fully loaded with goods known as De-oiled cake (DOC), highly perishable goods worth N18 million. It didn’t matter to him that the driver of the truck which had a flat tyre was busy fixing it, but he towed away the truck with the goods to an unknown destination till date. In July, he also impounded our Scania bridger truck. I have petitioned Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, yet he has not acknowledged it for two months now.
“Bright Ikokwu should be called to order and made to pay for seizing our trucks without cause. A situation where he is allowed to use his position, claiming he is a brother to the governor of Abia State, to continue to harass and intimidate us as well as impound and detain our company trucks without any cause clearly contravenes the law setting up TIMAAS. This is a company that has over 100 persons in its employ. He has continued to impound any of our trucks seen on the road. He has also started making attempts to auction the trucks without charging us to court as stipulated in the TIMAAS law.”
He listed the company trucks impounded by TIMAAS to include; a 40-foot container truck with number plate XD 597 UMA; Mack truck, XC 112 WER, with 40-foot container body and Scania truck with number plate, XA 144 UMA, among others.