Pedestrians and traders in Onitsha, the commercial hub of Anambra State, have raised alarm over what described as a new method of robbery being used to dispossess unsuspecting members of the public of their hard-earned money and other belongings in a twinkle of an eye.
The new robbery method, according to them, is codedly and honourably done by some uniformed men (usually dressed in yellow) and who claim to be working for the state government.
The alarm is coming barely one day after another concerned citizen raised another similar alarm on the sale of Soludo Paper to every motorist who must come into or live Anambra through the Second Niger Bridge, Onitsha, and other boundaries of the State.
According to the first alarmer, identified as Chukwu Flavian, the sellers of the ticket, which they nicknamed “Soludo Paper” always wedge and compel every motorist traveling out of or coming into Anambra State to buy the Paper. Although, Flavian is yet to reveal the amount the boys sell the Paper, he hinted that the boys were working for the Governor.
“Please, is your Governor, Mr. Soludo aware that his boys are disturbing vehicles traveling from other states to Delta, Enugu and Lagos? So vehicle traveling from other State states to Delta and Lagos or to Enugu must pay for Soludo paper. What is this Soludo paper? Even before we can access the second Niger Bridge, we pay for Soludo paper. What is this Soludo paper that vehicles from other State states must pay?” he wrote.
It was one day after the alarm was raised that the latest similar alarm was raised by another concerned resident of Onitsha.
The latest alarmer, in his video currently trending on the social media, said the second gang members, who station at opposite Chisco at Upper Iweka, usually concentrates more on people crossing the road without using the pedestrian bridge.
According to him, the group would always accost such crossers and begin to interrogate them in the disguise of being government agents, shortly after which their shuttle bus will arrive and they will force all the people into the shuttle bus and drive them away to a place known as Holiday Resort (also in Onitsha).
He further revealed that at the Holiday Resort, the victim’s bags, pockets and phone would be thoroughly searched by the gang members, and all good things therein be taken away, while all the money he/she has in his/her account would be ‘moved’, all with torture and in a twinkle of an eye. He said after these, they would chase the victim out of the place, rendering him stranded. He said some victims who negotiate well and settle peacefully with them would be discharged there at Upper Iweka without carrying him/her to their chambers at the Holiday Resort.
The source also said the operations of the gang members had been previously stopped in the area before, shortly after which they returned again in full force, more re-strategized and more energized.
According to him, the gang members claim to working for one Mr. Igboeze, who was described as one of the leaders of the recently-inaugurated State newly-touting Squad Agency (SASA) in Anambra recently floated by Governor Soludo. He said the gang members also revealed that they were making returns (payments) of unspecified amount of money to Igboeze on daily basis as part of their homage to him as the leader of the Anti-touting Squad in that area.
While lamenting the alarming rate at which travellers and l innocent individuals are being tormented and robbed in the area by the gang members; the source further called the attention of the State Government and security agencies in the State to the situation; even as he advised people passing through the area to be careful not to fall prey to the people.
Efforts to get the reactions of the Police Public Relations Officer for the Anambra State Police Command, DSP Ikenga Tochukwu, on the situation, proved abortive, as he was yet to respond to message sent to him by this reporter, Izunna Okafor.
By Izunna Okafor, Awka