April 10, 2014 – Innocent Student Beaten To Death By Enugu Waste Management Officials For Dumping Refuse On Approved Site
A 17-year-old boy has died after being beaten up with sticks by men of the Enugu State Waste Management Agency.
Before his death, the boy, Chidiebere Edeh, lived with his parents at 20 Ifenze Street in the Abakpa area of the state and was sitting for the ongoing Senior School Certificate Examination.
PUNCH Metro learnt that he died at about 3pm on Monday, nine hours after being beaten up by five ESWAMA agents and a police officer.
It was gathered that a scuffle between ESWAMA agents and Chidiebere ensued minutes after the deceased allegedly disposed of a bag of rubbish at one of the approved dumpsites.
Apparently not happy with the manner he discarded the rubbish, residents who live close to the dump site told our correspondent that the ESWAMA agents immediately began to hit him with sticks.
“All attempts by the boy to explain to them that the rubbish was tied into a big black nylon bag, as recommended by ESWAMA, and neatly dumped proved abortive,” said one of the residents.
The resident, Obinna Madukwe, said the ESWAMA men hit the deceased harder when he refused being taken away in a commercial bus.
According to Madukwe, the noise attracted some other people to the scene who continued to plead with them.
He said, “Instead of listening to our pleas, they threatened to arrest us and chased us away.”
Mother of the deceased, Mrs. Catherine Edeh, said she went to the dumpsite having waited endlessly for her son to return home.
Catherine told our correspondent that she pleaded with the ESWAMA agents, adding that they threatened to beat her if she didn’t steer clear.
She said she left to look for money to bail her son, but returned to meet the place deserted.
Catherine said, “A tricycle man brought me back there and we couldn’t find anyone, except for someone who laid by the centre of the road, just inches away from the dumpsite.
“I initially took the person for a mad man and we were about leaving when I noticed blood gushing out from the body, and then something made me to look properly. Lo and behold, it was my son – almost dead.
“He had been beaten to stupor and at that point, the only wise thing to do was to take him to a hospital in Abakpa.
“Had I known, I would have gone to throw away the rubbish myself. It’s just that it was about 6.30am and I was preparing to go to the market and his younger brother was busy.
“He was to return to Ngwo to continue with his SSCE exams and now he is no more.”
Our correspondent visited the hospital – Ogechukwu Hospital – where the doctor on duty disclosed that Chidiebere died from internal bleeding.
The doctor, who pleaded anonymity, said, “He had a damaged brain and suffered deep wounds at his back and the rear of his head. His eyes popped out, the right leg was shifted and swollen.”
When contacted, the Managing Director of ESWAMA, Mr. Don Okonkwo, declined comments.
Other members of staff of the agency also refused commenting, saying they had been warned against talking to the press on the matter.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu, confirmed the incident.
“Investigations into the incident have commenced to ascertain what actually transpired,” Amaraizu said.
Meanwhile, the International Solidarity for Peace and Human Rights Initiative has demanded justice in the murder of Chidiebere by officials of ESWAMA.
President of the group, Mr. Osmond Ugwu, said the probe should not be cumbersome as those involved were known to ESWAMA management.
He said, “The management knows very well those in charge of Enugu East Local Government Area, while those in Enugu East in turn know who they sent out on duty at such place, date and time.
“If ESWAMA management failed to produce them under the guise that they didn’t know them, it means that members of public are in danger and should be encouraged not to honour any ESWAMA agent.”
Ugwu urged the commissioner of police to prevail on ESWAMA management and police officers assigned to ESWAMA to produce the killers of Chidiebere and prosecute them in accordance with the law.
He insisted that ESWAMA authority should pay the necessary compensation to the family for the loss.
[Reported by Punch Metro]