Raymond Ozoji, Awka
It was a solemn atmosphere at the last plenary of the 7th Anambra State House of Assembly as Hon. Okechukwu Okoye of Aguata 2 state constituency narrated his ordeal in the hands of hoodlums who trailed him to the Automated Teller Machine (ATM), watched him withdraw some money and traced him back to his car, where the criminals accosted him and his wife at gun point and absconded with all the money he withdrew at the ATM.
The lawmaker who apparently became very emotional while recounting the ugly episode, said he narrowly escaped death that fateful day because the criminals had threatened to waste him, if he tried any foul play at the instance.
Such was the fate of Hon. Okechukwu Okoye as he stood up in support of the motion moved by his colleague from Aguata 1 state constituency, Hon. Dr. Cater Dike Nnamdi Umeh, whose motion emphasized the urgent need for the police to beef up security operations at ATM points across Anambra state.
Okoye noted that the paramount purpose of government was the protection of life and property and that there was need to nip the activities of the hoodlums loitering around ATMs in the bud because he has been a victim of the ugly trend.
He said, “If not for God’s intervention that day, they would have shot me and my wife. But fortunately, God saved us. So there is a need for this hollowed chambers to put up a bill to bring perpetrators of such dastardly act to book and to prevent further escalations.
“How would it be if the money withdrawn from the machine appears to be the only hope of whosoever that made the withdrawal and was made away by these hoodlums. Such experience could lead to health related issues.”
Moreso, the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Uche Okafor, sympathized with Hon. Okoye and his wife, saying that the motion was timely especially in this Christmas season when Ndi-Anambra will return home for Christmas and New year celebrations and may have reasons to use the automated teller machines across the state.
The Speaker therefore ruled that the state assembly calls on Governor Willie Obiano to direct the commissioner of police in Anambra state to ensure firm monitoring of the activities of scammers and criminals posing at ATM points in the guise of innocent citizens willing to assist individuals in carrying out cash transactions .