How Imo officials caused death of over 3,000 day-old chicks

Over 3,000 day-old chicks were left to die under the sun, on Thursday, inside a vehicle impounded illegally by task force officials in Imo State.

The incident which happened in Owerri has been attributed to a rash decision by two police officers and three task force officials who were insisting that the vehicle should have had Imo State emblem on it.

Various states in Nigeria, for the purposes of revenue-generation, require commercial vehicle owners to affix state emblem on their vehicle.

Some owners, especially those whose vehicles travel across several states, however, prefer to get a ‘consolidated’ emblem which allows for easy passage through states and saves them the clumsiness of having to buy emblem from every state.

Tega Silas, the driver of a Toyota Sienna, who transported the day-old chicks – 8,000 of them – from a hatchery in Kaduna State, said he pulled over on the Owerri road on the order of the police officers manning a roadblock.

The driver said he left Kaduna around 9 p.m., travelled through the night – about 687 km – so he could get to Owerri early in the morning to avoid the chicks being affected by harsh weather.

He said he arrived Owerri around 8:50 a.m.

“I was very close to my final destination (in Owerri) where the owners of the chicks were waiting before a policeman stopped me at a checkpoint. I told him, please, I was carrying day-old chicks, and that he should allow me to go,” Mr Silas told PREMIUM TIMES, Saturday.

The officer, armed with a rifle, inspected the chicks packed in several cartons inside the minivan, the driver said.

Shortly, his vehicle was surrounded by three men working for the Imo State task force on vehicle emblem, he said. The men and the police officers demanded the Imo State emblem which the vehicle did not have.

Mr Silas’ vehicle, however, had a ‘consolidated’ emblem on it.

Mr Silas said he explained to the officer that the chicks could die “in the next five minutes” because of the weather if they delayed him any further.

“Is the day-old chicks you are carrying more important than the (police) uniform I am wearing?” the driver said the officer told him.


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