Onitsha Traders Attacks Security Officer With Acid To Save Tout Who Extort Money From People

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A trader at the Pharmaceutical Market in Onitsha retaliated against members of the Special Anambra Anti-Touting Squad (SASA), resulting in deadly consequences.

The incident unfolded this past weekend following attempts by SASA agents to catch a notorious tout operating near the Niger Bridge Head.

As the suspect fled into the crowded marketplace, he found himself shielded by irate vendors unwilling to cooperate with authorities.

According to Director Solomon Chukwuebuka, speaking via the spokesperson for the Anambra Vigilante Group, rather than helping capture the wanted individual, some traders responded violently—launching an acid attack upon the anti-touting squad’s personnel.

In their efforts to regain order amid chaos, tragedy struck again when a young man identified as a university graduate lost his life due to gunshot wounds sustained within the bustling market environment.

Narrating what happened, Nweke said: “On Friday 16th of February, 2024, our men were on our usual official assignment to rid the Niger Bridge Head area of touts who stationed themselves there, extorting money from transport operators and buyers from the surrounding markets.

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

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

“But instead, commentators on the trending video on social media made the victims bathed with acid to become the villain, thereby exonerating the market authority from facing the consequences of their ill-action.

“It is unfortunate that Ogbo Ogwu Market leaders accused our men of having killed a student of Nnamdi Azikiwe University. They even alleged that the touts that ran into their market were merely people urinating and our men were after them, forgetting that SASA officials are not Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra, OCHA Brigade, sanitary inspectors or environmental sanitation officers who have the responsibility to deal with such misdemeanor.

“The traders’ attack on our men brings into question the role of our informal private sector like markets, motor parks, amongst others in the war against crime in order to make Anambra a liveable and prosperous state, as Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo had vowed to make it.

“It is really unfortunate that a suspected violator of the law fleeing from arrest will be given protection by a legitimate market whose leadership is duly recognized by the government of Anambra State.

“Meanwhile, market leaders were among the major stakeholders who lent their voices in passionately requesting Governor Soludo to rid Anambra State of touts and extortionists.”

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