Posted by By Anayo Okoli on
AWKA: Another round of crisis erupted in Onitsha yesterday when Onitsha youths embarked on a protest against the abduction of seven.....
AWKA: Another round of crisis erupted in Onitsha yesterday when Onitsha youths embarked on a protest against the abduction of seven persons believed to be indigenes of the commercial town, including a leader of one of the youth associations in the city by hoodlums belonging to one of the gangsters being flushed out of Onitsha.
However, no casualties were recorded but the youths solicited the support of the state government to direct the combined security team to assist in rescuing the abducted leader and the other people.
But there was unconfirmed report that a pregnant woman was killed in Ugwuagba area, which hosts old motor spare parts market on Wednesday, when the hoodlums clashed with security personnel. Though another version had it that the woman was killed by the security operatives.
While Anambra State government has almost successfully dislodged the various gangsters from the motor parks and markets, they have retreated to some remote areas like Mkpikpa layout in Okpoko where some people, including notable names like a former legislator, Chief G.B.C. Chukwuka were asked to provide 200 bags of rice and undisclosed amount of money. As he could not meet up with their demands, he was abducted and taken away.
To ensure control of the situation, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State has further extended the curfew to July 16, 2006. In his fourth statewide broadcast since the crisis erupted three weeks ago, Obi promised to investigate all the allegations of abuse of human rights, rape, intimidation and harassment heaped against the soldiers and policemen involved in the security operatives in Onitsha.
However, Obi asked the people of the state to provide the government with information on the allegations, saying that he was ready to protect the people of the state. Obi called on the people to exercise patience as the government was already flushing out the gangsters from the state.
Obiís broadcast read: "It is the position of this administration that we keep you constantly informed of the goings-on in our state.
Based on the up-to-the-minute briefings we provided to His Excellency, President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR, he has agreed with our position and directed that members of NARTO, MASSOB, the Bakassi Boys, the Anambra State Vigilante Service (AVS) and all other such organizations should vacate our markets, motor parks and other public places forthwith.
"Only the Anambra State government and its government councils or their appointed representatives are authorized to manage markets, motor parks and other public places in accordance with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the current provisions of the Local Government Laws.
"May I plead with Anambra people and residents of the state who hail from elsewhere to remain calm and patient as government sanitizes Onitsha and other towns in the state with a view to freeing them from the grip of gangsters. The inconveniences we currently suffer, including the riots reported in Onitsha today, are necessary sacrifices which must be made to achieve our ideals. The alternative to the current efforts is, of course anarchy which will be much worse than what was the case when the hoodlums held sway.