From Okey Sampson, Umuahia
Ten vehicles worth several millions of naira, impounded by the disbanded Traffic and Indiscipline Management Agency of Abia State (TIMAAS), and parked at its yard at the premises of the Abia State Meteorological Complex, Umukalika, Aba have been destroyed by fire.
It was gathered that the affected vehicles were those impounded by TIMAAS led by Bright Chindeu Ikeokwu before it was disbanded by a State High Court sitting in Obingwa Judicial Division.
The court presided over by Justice E.O. Enwereji in Suit No: HOB/24/2022: between Kalu Nnamdi Collins (plaintiff) and TIMAAS and Bright Chinedu Ikeokwu (defendants) had declared TIMAAS an illegal body, stressing that it was not created by any law of the State House of Assembly.
Reports have it that personnel of the Abia State Fire Service, Aba had to battle for hours to stop the fire from spreading to other parts of the complex and also engulfing other vehicles that are still being detained by TIMAAS in the yard even after the court pronouncement.
The cause of the fire outbreak was not clear, but sources at the state Fire Service said that they were suspecting activities of hunters who sneak into the yard to hunt for bush meats or smokers who may not have properly put off the cigarette or weed ash.
Investigations revealed that before the incident, some of the vehicle owners had made attempts to retrieve their cars from the TIMAAS after it was disbanded by the court, but were unable to reach the General Manager of the Agency.
In a swift response to the fire incident,
Governor Okezie Ikpeazu in a statement issued through the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Chris Ezem directed that all vehicles at the TIMAAS detention yard should be removed on or before December 30.
“The Governor of Abia State Dr Okezie Ikpeazu has directed that all impounded vehicles currently in TIMAAS custody must be removed on or before December 30, 2022, failing which the vehicles are there at the owner’s risk.
“The Management of TIMAAS should ensure strict compliance to this directive”, the statement added.