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1 killed, many injured as anti touts operatives clashed with protesting youths in Onitsha

Trouble on Thursday broke out
at about 7:30 am along Onitsha Owerri Road by Obodoukwu junction, Onitsha, Anambra State, as gun-wielding men wearing black jackets suspected to be Anti Touts Operatives, shot dead a young man said to have just completed his National Youth Service Corp, NYSC.

Nigeriacrime.com gathered that the victim identified as Chimezie Udoji from Achina, Aguata Local Government Area, was said to have met his death while sitting on the balcony of their family house, located along Obodoukwu Road by Shoe Site, near Okpoko Police Station, in Ogbaru council area, when some youths wielding sticks were protesting against alleged wee hours arrest, harassment and extortion by the men said to be anti touts operatives

Another version of the story had it that the protesters were equally protesting against the activities of tricycle operator revenue agents who have taken over Onitsha and its environment giving operators nightmares on the roads.

The youths numbering over 120 were said to have marched from Metallurgical Training Institute, MTI, located along Onitsha Owerri road to Amanato area of Onitsha Owerri road towards Upper Iweka Flyover in protest against intimidation and harassment of youths in the area by the agents of the state government wearing different kinds uniforms acting as anti touts and revenue agents at the same time.

Some of the tricycle operators said that the tricycle operator’s revenue agents claiming to be working for the state government wearing different colours of apron have been collecting between N300 to N500 per trip in the name of different tricycle revenue agents on contract with the state government.

However, anti-touts operatives were said to have emerged from nowhere at Obodoukwu junction and started shooting sporadically in the air apparently to scare the protesters away, but in the process residents and traders whose movements for their commercial and business activities were at their peak, around 7:30 am started running helter-skelter for their safety, with some sustaining injuries in the process.

According to an eye witness, it was in the process of the sporadic shooting in the air that the deceased victim, who was discussing in the balcony of their flat, sustained a gunshot wound apparently from a stray bullet and died instantly.

According to the eyewitness, “The protesting youths have gone far towards the Upper Iweka Flyover, we don’t even know what the men wearing black jackets were doing on Obodoukwu road junction where the victim was shot dead. You know the distance from Obodoukwu Road junction to Upper Iweka Flyover where the protesters were when the victim was shot dead.

“Maybe the security men who were shooting sporadically in the air at Obodoukwu road junction thought the protesters were coming after the revenue agents blocking the entry of Obodoukwu road in front of Shoe state.

“You know how violent those revenue agents wearing mufti behave because they are collecting for a particular security agency.

It was gathered that Policemen from Okpoko Police Station were invited to evacuate the corpse of the deceased Udoji, to the mortuary.

Contacted a senior Police officer from Okpoko Police Station, confirmed the death of Udoji and the evacuation of his corpse.

The Officer who spoke on condition of anonymity said that the youths were protesting against wee hours arrest detention and intimidation of the youths around Owerri Road, Obodoukwu Road and Ezeiweka areas and its environs.

“The youth in the area were protesting against the midnight arrest, between 2: 30 to 3:30 am by ant-touts operatives, and this morning the anti-touts came back and opened fire on them and in the process, the victim was killed.

Reminded that the victim was killed while sitting in their flat, he said, “You know the anti-touts operatives are not trained to handle guns, that is what you get when such people handle guns.”

Efforts to speak with the state Police Public Relations Officer Ikenga Tochukwu proved abortive as he neither picked up his calls nor replied to text messages on his phone at the time of filing this report.

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