Anambra: 7 Anti-Tout Operatives Hospitalised After Acid Bath From Ogbo-Ogwu Traders 

…as stray bullets from vigilantes’ pump action kill one 
By Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The State Director Anambra Anti-Touting Squad Hon. Solomon Chukwuebuka Onwuemene has said that social media unverified reports of what happened on February 16,  2024 at Ogbo-Ogwu Bridge Head Onitsha were all calculated attempts to rubbish the image of the state anti-touting special squad.
Onwuemene, who spoke with NewsProbe, said no amount of emotional blackmail or negative propaganda against the special anti-touting squad would make it bow to the whims and caprices of criminal kingpins who are sponsors of touts unleashing terror and mayhem on innocent law-abiding citizens.
Onwuemene said the ugly episode of Friday, February 16, at Ogbo-Ogwu Bridge Head Onitsha where the traders unleashed mob action on operatives of the special anti-touting squad who were on their lawful assignments; using acid and other dangerous weapons to attack them, have left seven of his men struggling between life and death at the hospital.
He said that apart from the seven operatives who were in critical conditions at the hospital, two officers were held hostage by the traders for daring to chase touts who ran into the market for cover. That the situation was bloody such that traders in Ogbo-Ogwu and  the market vigilantes opened fire on men of the special anti-touting squad, shooting sporadically, killing someone accidentally.
The  Anti-Touting boss recalled that upon inauguration, Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo didn’t authorize them to carry firearms let alone take any life in the course of their duties and that the individual who was accidentally killed during the Ogbo-Ogwu fracas, was not butchered with cutlass but died out of stray bullets from the pump action rifles of the market vigilantes even as he added that it took the intervention of the officers of the Nigerian Navy to rescue the situation.
Onwuemene said, “Friday morning, our men were on their normal daily patrol in the quest to fish out touts from the streets of Anambra State. Then they got to Head Bridge Ogbo-Ogwu market Onitsha where they sighted two men collecting money from women at a nearby mini market in the area and immediately they alighted from their vehicle and chased the touts who ran into Ogbo-Ogwu market.
“When my men made further attempts to apprehended the touts, some traders intercepted them saying that they can’t come into the market to make arrests. That Anti-tout is not allowed into the market.
“However, information has it that because they sell illicit drugs like Cocaine, Tramadol and other hard prohibited drugs inside Ogbo-Ogwu market, they didn’t want my men to enter the market. They even held two of my men hostage saying that men of anti-tout squad can not come into the market to arrest anyone. That they should take their job elsewhere.
“So when my men refused, they now launched attack on them with raw acid. They were pouring acid on my men and called their market vigilantes to open fire on them. That was when the market vigilantes started shooting in the air to scare people away and in the process bullets from their pump action rifles hit someone who was at a distance.
“The arrest has nothing to do with anybody urinating and as a matter of fact, there was no one urinating. It is important to make it clear that anti-tout does not use firearms. What we use is cutlass and pestle. We only call for security backups when we have attacks in the course of our duties.
“They poured seven of my men acid and held two hostage. This attracted the Naval personnel at Ogbaru junction who came and rescued them. When we were about to return to base, Ogbo-Ogwu marketers launched another attack on us throwing acid inside our vehicles while their market security shot sporadically at us with their pump actions.
“The day Mr. Governor inaugurated us, he made it categorically clear that there was no boundaries to their jobs. Is Ogbo-Ogwu market no longer in Anambra State or is Ogbo-Ogwu different from other markets? We go to other markets, so why can’t we go to Ogbo-Ogwu?”
Onwuemene further disclosed that there were no boys anymore in the streets. That they were currently going after their bosses whom they mentioned their names in different video interviews. He said the bosses of the touts have gone ahead to hire social media writers to start blackmailing the State Anti-touting Squad because they were ruthless and they don’t care who loses his or her life in their selfish quest to siphon state resources.
He said, “All those big hotels you see, are owned by these Agboro people. That is how they make their money. So they want to do everything and anything within their reach to make sure Anti-tout goes down so they can come en masse and continue with their daily illicit business. So everybody should be careful.”

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