CLO decries alleged killing of Anambra trader, seeks probe State police: Governors to appoint police commissioners, bill lists conditions for CPs sacking

The Civil Liberties Organisation in Anambra State has decried with disdain, the alleged killing of a trader at the Patent Pharmaceuticals Market, BridgeHead, Onitsha, by the operatives of the state Anti-Touts Squad, at the market on Friday.

While addressing journalists over the development in Onitsha, on Tuesday, the Chairman and Secretary, CLO, Vincent Ezekwueme and Chidi Mbah, respectively, described the killing as “barbaric, insensate, inhumane and despicable.”

There was pandemonium at the said market on Friday when operatives of the anti-touts squad stormed the market and allegedly shot indiscriminately in a bid to arrest someone who was said to have urinated in a restricted area and ran into the market for cover.

The development was said to have resulted into chaos as the traders scampered to safety, leading to destruction and looting of people’s goods and property.

Although the state Commissioner for Information, Sir Paul Nwosu, who reacted to the development, had blamed the fatal shooting on the traders who he said infringed on the official assignment of the state Special Anti-touting Squad, he accused the market leaders of “fuelling” the incident.

But reacting on behalf of the CLO, Ezekwueme and Mba said, “The purported killing of the Onitsha-based trader at Patent Pharmaceuticals Market, Bridge Head Onitsha by the Anti-touts Squad is barbaric, insensate, inhumane and despicable. The victim identified as Arinze was a native of Umezulu Umuohi, Okija in Ihiala L.G.A.

“If those saddled with the responsibility of protecting, serving and caring for the citizenry become a threat, nightmare and problem to the citizens, the future will be very bleak and unbearable.”

Our correspondent gathered that the group during the inauguration of the Special Anambra State Anti-Touting Squad advised them to be civil, law-abiding and patriotic while discharging their duties.

The group called for discreet and in-depth investigations to unravel the circumstances surrounding the killing of the 34-year-old trader and ensure that the perpetrators were brought to book to face the full wrath of the law to act as a deterrent to others.

“The state government should take very urgent and immediate measures to ensure that this matter will not be swept under the carpet and caution appropriately members of various tasks forces and agencies to forestall future occurrences of this devilish and detestable act.

“Pertinently, we pray for eternal repose of his gentle and humble soul and for God to give his family and loved ones the grace and fortitude to bear and endure the irreparable and irreplaceable lose. The action of the security officials is hallmark of man’s inhumanity against man. We call for prompt prosecution of the perpetrators.”

In a reaction when contacted, the Public Relations Officer, state Special Anti-Touting Squad, Nweke Nweke, denied any involvement of its operatives in the killing, saying that the squad was on its usual official assignment of riding the Niger Bridgehead area of touts extorting money from transport operators and buyers from the surrounding markets.

Nweke said, “In our bid to arrest the erring agberos, (touts) some of them ran into the nearby Ogbo Ogwu (pharmaceutical) market but instead of the traders to assist our men to apprehend the touts, the traders gathered and attempted to lynch our men.

“As our men went after the culprits (agberos), some of the market traders launched massive acid attacks on them. Four out of the seven of our men sustained life-threatening injuries from the acid attacks and doctors are currently battling to save their lives in the hospital.

“As it became obvious that our men could not arrest the touts in the market as a result of the attacks on them, they retreated. It was at that point that the Nigerian Navy, stationed at the Uga Junction area, intervened and arrested the ugly situation.”

He said it was unfortunate that the pharmaceutical market leaders accused his men of having killed someone and that the touts who ran into their market were merely people urinating and the operatives were after them.

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