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Fatal shooting at Anambra market caused by traders — CP Teachers, lecturers to sign sexual harassment prevention form

The Anambra State Commissioner for Information, Paul Nwosu, has said the fatal shooting that occurred at the Ogbo-Ogu Pharmaceutical Market, Niger Bridgehead, Onitsha, on Friday, was caused by traders who infringed on the official assignment of the state Special Anti-touting Squad.

Operatives of the Anti-touting Squad had reportedly invaded the market and allegedly shot one person dead in a bid to “arrest” a culprit who was said to have urinated in a restricted area.

The operatives were said to be shooting indiscriminately in the market while in search of the culprit, the development caused pandemonium in the area and generated a lot of controversies with videos of the incident circulating on social media.

But the commissioner, in a statement on Saturday, blamed the market leaders for fuelling the incident.

The statement read, “The video circulating on social media where a young man was purportedly shot and killed by the Special Anambra State Anti-Touting Squad has caught the attention of Anambra State Government.

“The facts are as follows, on Friday, February 16, the Special Anambra State Anti-Touting Squad was on its usual official assignment to rid the Niger Bridge Head area of Agberos (touts) extorting money from transport operators and buyers from the surrounding markets.

“In a bid to arrest the erring Agberos, some of them ran into the nearby Ogbo Ogu (pharmaceutical) market.

“As SASA went after the culprits, some of the market traders launched massive acid attacks on them. Four out of the seven-man SASA team sustained life-threatening injuries from the acid attack and doctors are battling to save their lives in the hospital.

“As if the acid attack was not effective, the market security personnel started shooting at the unarmed SASA officials.

“When it was obvious that SASA could not arrest the Agberos in the market as a result of the life-threatening attack against them, they retreated.

“It was at this point that the Nigerian Navy intervened to arrest the ugly situation. In the process of exchanging fire with the market security, the young man in question was unfortunately hit by the bullet from the market’s security personnel.”

Nwosu said the cartridges found around the young man (as evidenced in the video) belong to pump action rifles usually used by vigilante groups and market security personnel, adding that the cartridges don’t fit into the model of service rifles used by the Nigerian Navy.

“It is therefore unfortunate that the commentator of the trending video spun the detail of what happened, making the victim (SASA) become the villain.

“The tale by the market authority that the young man was shot because he was urinating is simply unintelligible. SASA officials are not OCHA Brigade or Sanitary Inspectors or Environmental Sanitation officers who have the responsibility to deal with such misdemeanour.

“SASA does not carry firearms and couldn’t have shot the young man for whatever reason. Moreover, SASA’s brief is not to kill, but to arrest Agboros who are extorting money from hardworking Ndi Anambra. And where arrests are made, the suspects are made to face the law.

“This incident brings into question the role of our informal private sector e.g. markets, motor parks, etc in the war against crime in order to make Anambra State the liveable and prosperous State that Governor Chukwuma Soludo promised Ndi Anambra. A place where markets, transport services and sundry private sector initiatives should thrive.

“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 recognised by the Government of Anambra State.

“Meanwhile, market leaders were among the many major stakeholders who lent their voices to other Ndi Anambra in passionately requesting Soludo to rid Anambra State of Agberos and extortionists.

“Government is calling on the Police to thoroughly investigate what led to this unfortunate incident and ensure that those responsible for this heinous act are made to face the full wrath of the law,” the statement added.

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