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How Gov. Soludo's 'Anti-Tout' Militias Murdered A Young Trader In Onitsha Market, Injured Others

How Gov. Soludo's 'Anti-Tout' Militias Murdered A Young Trader In Onitsha Market, Injured Others This tragic incident occurred i...

How Gov. Soludo's 'Anti-Tout' Militias Murdered A Young Trader In Onitsha Market, Injured Others

This tragic incident occurred in the afternoon hours - around 4:30pm, of 16th February, 2024 at the bridgehead market otherwise known as Ogbo Ogwu Market in Anambra State. This saddening incident saw the sudden demise of a breadwinner, a vibrant young man and also others who sustained dire injuries of varying severity.

The Anti-tout squad which was initially created by the Governor Charles Soludo - when he assumed governance in 2021 from his Predecessor Willie Obiano to "curb the menace of touts who were disturbing and heavily extorting unsuspecting members of the public in the state, especially in the business sphere"- became notorious not only in their primary assignment, but also in the assumed responsibility of checkmating people who are caught urinating in public space especially in the gutters and sewage areas.

Offenders of the later are caught, bundled into an already awaiting vehicle and driven to a location of choice, where they are possibly beaten and extorted an unspecified amount as "penalty for their wrongdoing", while the former when caught, are driven to a certain center in the upper-iweka axis where they are tortured under the sun, with heavy duty woods, pestles, even matchete with a serious possibility of some of them dying as a result of the torture meted.

From the forgoing did the tragic incident of yesterday occurred. The Anti-tout team during their patrol allegedly spotted some persons urinating in the gutters of the express way leading to the Niger River Bridgehead, and thus moved in for a catch. And, while many of the "offenders" made a run for it, they were lucky enough to capture of one them, who resisted being bundled into their patrol vehicle, prompting them to begin torturing him with their matchete to command his loyalty and submission. 

But, all proved abortive. As the victim in question after seriously asking them to stop torturing him, managed to escape and disappeared into the market and came back with a can of corrosive acid - which unfortunately was used on one of the Anti-tout operative, inflicting very serious injury although the corrosive substance was immediately neutralized before it was too late.

That, however compelled the Anti-tout team to temporarily retreat and came back with reinforcements - which according to certain accounts and sources, were members of the disbanded Ebubeagu militia as well as the Anambra Vigilante group (AVG).

 And upon arrival for revenge, the militias began to shoot sporadically which resulted to a halt to business live, and a chaotic scamper for safety from sprayed bullets. Although many were lucky enough to hide, this  very innocent young man was not. He was hit, shot in cold blood and was left to bleed out, as the gun blazing prevented a swift response to save his fizzling existence. And, before he could be rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Coincidentally, all these transpired while the state governor was reportedly in the area on a official state visit, to commission and inaugurate a state road project along the Port Harcourt road in the Fegge-UpperIweka direction.

The anti-tout squad has been a menace to those who they were alleged to have been sent to protect, from the touts. According to different accounts from people on the ground, The resistance of the victim in question is in fact a common occurrence, amongst those who are unlucky enough to escape being captured. Only those who are "unwise and dull" are successively bundled and extorted by the predators.

Their argument and defiance to the state directives are inspired by fact that, even the gutters themselves are saturated by dirts and are not cleaned and scrupulous enough for such draconian measures, coupled with the fact although they pay tax of high proportion, the state government has not found it necessary to build a functional excretion system in the markets  that would be accessible to all and sundry, as an alternative and a mitigation technique to its policies.

Whether their arguments and grievances are logical or not. One thing remains clear, their demands are undoubtedly legitimate and the high-handedness of the State-sponsored operatives led to the sudden death of the young man, and they stand responsible for his tragic and avoidable demise.

Family Writers Press International Reporting In Anambra State.

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