How Abia vigilante killed restaurant staff for demanding unpaid salaries

Izuchukwu Mbakwe

An operative of the Abia State Vigilante Service, on Sunday, shot a 27-years-old staff of De Choice Eatery, Mr. Izuchukwu Mbakwe in Umuahia, the Abia State capital, when he asked about his unpaid five months’ salary from the manager of the Cafe.

The deceased’s community, Umuosu Okaiuga Nkwoegwu in Ohuhu, Umuahia North Local Government has demanded immediate justice.

It was gathered that, on Sunday, when the deceased was asking for his unpaid salaries, the Internal Auditor invited Abia Vigilante Service and demanded the arrest of Mbakwe over a missing “Nokia Torch” belonging to the company and allegedly threatened to kill him for asking for payment of his salary.

The source noted, “The De Choice Fast Food Organisation has been known for not paying people their salaries”.

The vigilante operatives who on arrival, proceeded to beat Mbakwe and “stripped him, and beat him to a stupor. On getting up to go away they shot him on his legs before firing the shot him at his lap at close range with a Pump Action Riffle, which affected his Femoral Artery.”

It was learnt that it took an uproar from customers for the victim to be brought to FMC Umuahia for treatment. He, however, lost his life at the point when he was about to be referred to a specialist hospital. He has been since deposited at the morgue.

A source had it that the “Nokia Torch” phone was later found to have been plugged in for charging at the DJ cubicle at the front of the office.

A colleague of the deceased also confirmed that they are being owed up to 5 Months’ salary arrears.

Confirming that her brother has not been paid for five months, Mbakwe’s elder sister, Mrs Adaora Chukwuemeka wondered why the employer has not communicated with the family, disclosing that late Mbakwe was left under the rain to bleed to death. She called for justice for her brother.

The deceased brother, Mbakwe Ikedichi in a statement he signed on behalf of the youths of his community said, “We call for the arrest and criminal prosecution of the organisation for murder and accomplices to murder, part of a criminal enterprise and the imposition of the harshest punishment that applicable by the law of the land.

“Nothing short of capital punishment or life imprisonment would be acceptable to the family.

“We all also call for the disbanding of all groups involve in thuggery and criminal behaviour in the name of the law, the closure of all De Choice Organisation enterprises across this country until they conduct an open and comprehensive workplace reform so that their entire workforce are paid both past and present salaries.

“De Choice Organisation are to begin a process of compensation to the family without delay.

“These are our demands and we employ all well meaning, law abiding citizens of this nation to join us in seeking the change necessary that we need to make this country to be a safe place to live.

Similarly, the clan union, Ohuhu Welfare Union, OWU in a letter dated 27th March, 2023 to the Manager of De choice has demanded for justice for Izuchi Mbakwe.

In that letter signed by the President-General, OWU, Chief Okechukwu Johnson Uwazie, and the Secretary-General, Mr. Akachi Andrew Nwogu the Ohuhu Welfare Union said “It is also alleged that the late Izuchukwu Mbakwe, before his death was been owed five (5) months salary by your organization.

“By this letter, we demand that DETAILS surrounding alleged shooting and abandoning of the deceased at scene, which resulted to his death be furnished to his family and Ohuhu Welfare Union within 48hrs from today 27” March, 2023. We also request your full cooperation with the Nigeria Police in the course of the investigation to ensure the law take its course.

According to the clan youths, “His (Izuchi Mbakwe) only crime was working for you and you owed him more than Five months salary!

“De Choice Umuahia Okpara Square. You decided to Strip, beat and then shoot Izuchukwu Mbakwe at close range. People all ran away, even those having lunch at the fast food all ran away, abandoning him to bleed to death!

“Is this how callous and wicked this world have become? Oga De Choice Bravo, you have achieved your aim. Oga know that you are owing him 5 Months Salary in Life and in Death.

“You promised to kill him and nothing will happen, that Nigeria is a lawless country. We shall see how you will get out of this sir.

“The so called rich cannot be killing the poor anyhow and get away with it. No. There must be justice for Izuchukwu!”

Protesting on Monday, the youths said “We the OHUHU YOUTHS are peacefully marching to express our outrage in the unjustified killing of our brother on Sunday the 26th of March 2023”.

Izuchi Mbakwe was said to have just returned from Dubai and was awaiting family plans to send him to another country, while he was working as an interim job until his movement is ready.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the State SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, has since confirmed the incident and faulted the action of the vigilante operatives. He wondered why the deceased was not handed over to the police for investigation, stating that the suspect has been apprehended and his firearm recovered.



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