Bridge Head Market PG condemns death of trader allegedly caused by activities of Anti Tout operatives

By Gloria Anaeze Onitsha.

The President General, Bridge Head Market Onitsha, Hon Chinedu Ezekwike (Akwaeke) has condemned the activities of Anti Tout operatives at Bridge Head Market, Onitsha, Anambra State which resulted to loss of life.

Hon Akwaeke, however, praised traders of the market for not taking laws into their hands. He further pleaded with them not to embark on any form of riot or unlawful demonstrations to disrupt public peace. He assured them that the perpetrators must be brought to book

Ezekwuike, said he was with the State Governor, Prof Charles Soludo during his visit at Fegge that day when he got the report about the invasion of the Anti Tout members inside the market and number of casualties and the death of one Arinze from Okija.

“I have addressed the traders not to revenge or take laws into their hands as it is the duty of government to investigate what led to the incident. As of now there is calmness, “he said.

According to him, to avoid future occurrence, government needs to give the operatives good training and ensure that they recruit decent people with good character as well as checkmating their activities.

He said they were supposed to ask for the leader of the market as the invasion created room for thieves to steal people’s goods. He disclosed that many people lost both goods and money during the incident.

According to eyewitnesses, trouble started when one boy went to urinate at a gutter that was unkept as the public toilet in that area was under lock and key, although government ordered that nobody should urinate inside the gutter. Then the anti tout group sighted the boy and got him arrested.

The source said immediately some passersby saw the way in which the boy was arrested, they tried to come to his rescue.

“This made the members of the anti tout to go back and reinforced with guns,machetes and other dangerous weapons and went straight inside science equipment section of bridge head market and started shooting inside the market, started destroying people’s goods, shooting sporadically, “the source alleged.

The anti tout members allegedly started breaking people’s shops, giving some traders machetes cuts, beating up many people, which made some of the traders to lock themselves up inside their shops for more than two hours.

The source alleged that it was during the attack that the anti tout members gunned down one apprentice who was said to have run to one building where he was shot dead by anti tout members.

Our Correspondent gathered that all attempt to get the law enforcement agents to come to intervene failed as their attention was focused on Governor Soludo’s visit to Fegge, Onitsha. It was also gathered that a member of the anti tout allegedly received acid attack while many traders were injured.

“Provocation leads to unprofessional work. It is true that State government outlawed urinating inside the gutter but before such directives alternative must be provided, “a trader said.

There have been condemnations about the inhumane treatment given to people at the group’s office in Upper Iweka where one room with more than thirty people is being used as their cell. We appeal to Governor Soludo to visit the anti tout office at Upper Iweka, “another trader who would not like to be mentioned said.

Reacting, the Chairman of the Progressive Science Union, where the incident took place ,Nze Noel Nwosu condemned the incident and appealed to both State government and law enforcement agents to check the excesses of anti tout members to forestall future occurrences.

Meanwhile the Anambra State Police spokesman, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, when contacted, confirmed the incident, adding that the Commissioner of Police in the state, CP Aderemi Adeoye, has ordered a probe into the development.

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