By Peter Okutu
ABAKALIKI—THE protracted leadership crisis at the popular Mechanic Village along Ogoja Road in Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, yesterday, took a dangerous dimension following the destruction of 15 shops, 10 vehicles, motor spare parts and other machinery by unknown hoodlums.
Vanguard investigation revealed that the mayhem was not unconnected with the leadership tussle as a group within the location had refused to accept the new leadership put in place by artisans.
The fire incident, which started at 5 a.m. is coming on the heels of the leadership crisis rocking the artisans in the mechanic village.
The cause of the fire incident was not yet ascertained as there were allegations that it was started by unknown persons who were not satisfied with the coming on board of a new leadership in the mechanic village.
One of the victims, Christian Enwerem, said that apart from his shop that was gutted by fire, calibrating machine worth N3 million, motor parts, customers’ property among others were destroyed in the inferno.
Acting chairman of NATA, Chidiebere Uzor, expressed sadness over the disaster and alleged that it was masterminded by enemies of the mechanic village.
He said: “I was in my house this morning when I received a call from one of the security men that there was fire in the mechanic village. I engaged security men to guard the mechanic village but the crisis we had last Friday stopped them from coming here again.
“Ebonyi State government through the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor David Umahi on Internal Security had been having series of meetings with the artisans in order to fashion a way towards resolving the leadership crisis.”