Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has ordered the immediate suspension of Dr Patrick Irokansi, the permanent secretary, Ministry of Transport, Umuahia.
In a press statement signed by the Chief of Staﬀ to the Governor, Dr Anthony Agbazuere, Ikpeazu ordered the suspended permanent secretary to hand over to the most senior staﬀ in the ministry. No reason was also given for the suspension.
The Governor had in August, in a similar style, sacked the former Commissioner for Transport, Barr Ekele Nwaohanmuo from oﬃce for undisclosed reasons. Ekele Nwaohanmuo was after his sack ordered to hand over to the most senior staﬀ of his ministry. Meanwhile, mini-bus drivers, known as Keke bus today in Umuahia, protested a directive from transport unions, directing them to load passengers in approved motor parks.
Bus drivers who did not comply with the new order were being forced into designated motor parks with some buses impounded during the melee. The directive, according to them, would drag down their daily earnings as most of them operate on hire-purchase system.
The early morning protest which started by 7:30am from Isi gate axis, later spread to Aba park area of the town, causing a long stretch of traﬃc hold up down to Ikot Ekpene junction, before choking up movements along Bende road.
The protest brought untold hardship on passengers as most of them disembarked from the buses to continue their journey on foot. A senior oﬃcial of the road transport union at Isi gate while ﬁelding questions from newsmen explained that the new measure was to ensure a free ﬂow of movement of vehicles and persons around the city.