Two persons suspected to be brothers were on Wednesday burnt to death in Onitsha, Anambra State, for touting.
In a video that had gone viral, bystanders were seen screaming ,” These are touts collecting illegal levies around Bida area of Onitsha. They were being set ablaze for touting. This is not good. The punishment is too much for just touting. They are children to somebody. This is the return of Bakassi Boys.
The alleged touts were seen in the video struggling to escape from bonfire, but could not.
Reacting to the development, the Anambra Police Command condemned the jungle justice, but described the suspects as notorious armed robbers.
The state Police Public Relations Officer( PPRO), Tochukwu Ikenga said,”The Commissioner of Police, CP Aderemi Adeoye, has condemned the act and reiterated his call for members of the public to always take criminal offenders to the nearest Police Station for necessary policing actions, particularly the conduct of appropriate investigations.
“The CP has, therefore, ordered a thorough investigation of the incident.
“Meanwhile, preliminary information reveals that the two male suspects, who were later simply identified as Omaume and Monday, are members of a notorious armed robbery gang led by one Ikanda (male), already in the Correctional Service Custodial Centre.
“The gang is alleged to be responsible for several acts of attack and the dispossession of traders and unsuspecting victims of their personal belongings at the Main Market, Onitsha.”
Recall that the Anambra State Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, had last week launched the Anambra Special Anti-Touting Squad in his efforts to get rid of touts in the state.
During the launch in Upper-Iweka, Onitsha, the governor warned that the days of touts in the state were numbered as a full-blown war had been declared against them.
Soludo pointed out that in an environment where lawlessness had become a culture, bringing back law and order will be difficult, hence the reason for the exercise.
He congratulated members of the squad who had been found worthy and offered to serve, urging them to serve with commitment, passion, and diligence.
He also advised them to adhere to laid-down standards and the code of conduct guiding their operations.
Soludo said, “Members of the anti-touting squad shall collaborate with the Nigerian Armed Forces, who have the primary responsibility to keep the state safe.
“The launch of the squad is an acceleration on the key promise we made to the people living in the greater Onitsha area, which consists of Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Ogbaru, Oyi, and Idemili, to restore Anambra State, known for law and order, back to its full glory as the ‘Light of the Nation’.
“When we assumed office, eight local government areas were taken over. Thanks to the combined efforts of our security agencies and the vigilante service with their support, those local government areas have been liberated and normalcy restored.”
Soludo, however, urged the citizens to always remember the campaign of ‘if you see something, you say something’ and to put it into practise.
According to him, phone numbers shall be made available to citizens to inform the government of any touting activities they noticed in the area.
While warning all market chairmen, he pointed out that any market where touts are still operating shall be disbanded and the chairmen shall be removed from office, adding that each market chairman must take responsibility.
“We have told the youths to come out from their hideouts from the bush. We shall help to rehabilitate and integrate them into society to be useful to their families, communities, states, and nations.
“While dealing with hoodlums on a larger scale, we will be dealing with touts in Onitsha greater area and Anambra State as a whole.
“We are fighting a war to bring back the soul of our society governed by law and order, not a society where anyone does what he or she likes arbitrarily without recourse to law and order
“Touts disturb customers who come from every nook and cranny of the country. But this journey is to rescue Onitsha as a commercial hub and Anambra State in general,” he added
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