The Police in Anambra State on Tuesday, said they have arrested two suspects in connection with last Friday’s attack of persons by yet to be identified hoodlums in Onitsha.
No fewer than 15 persons were reportedly wounded while others sustained injuries scampering for safety, when dangerous weapons wielding hoodlums invaded the Niger Bridge head area, chanting songs against the state government suspension of some levies in the motor parks.
Confirming the arrest, Area Commander in charge of Onitsha, Mr. John Obuagbaka, said he led the Police and Army on their routine “Operation Show Force” which is now in its fifth day, within Onitsha metropolis when they accosted the hoodlums.
He said: “On reaching Upper Iweka, we ran into some young men brandishing machetes in a bus and when we approached them to know what was wrong, some escaped.
“We pursued the bus drivers and another suspect, taking photographs of what they were doing, until we met another group at the Niger Bridge Head, and dislodged them.
“We seized six machetes and a bus with which the hoodlums operated with and abandoned to escape on seeing the combined team of Police and Army, who were “Operation Show Your Force” a routine security parade within the commercial city of Onitsha.”
The Police however denied knowledge of any drivers union protest, nor were they aware of any allegation of intimidation, harassment or extortion by Anambra State Park Management Committee, or any of their members, including Chief Nelson Enendu.
On the allegation during their protest by Executive Friends Drivers Welfare Association, (EFDWA) a group being supported by Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria, RTEAN, said Chief Nelson Enendu, was connected with the hoodlums protest and collection of any levies, the Police Area Commander, said “Chief Enendu rather, reported a case of unidentified people from Asaba and Benin and subsequently Abuja, arresting and intimidating his workers over an unknown offense.”
“We investigated the report and discovered that they were actually Police men from Asaba, Benin and Abuja, on official duties, but did not report their presence in Awka or Onitsha, we have told Chief Enendu to inform us if such incident was repeated.”
The Police Area Commander, has however warned that they will not tolerate any break down of law and order in Onitsha by any group, adding that security has however, been beefed up from Upper Iweka to Niger Bridge Head to forestall further occurrence of hoodlums intimidating and harassing people with dangerous weapons.
Meanwhile, the State Park Management Committee, has warned that it would not tolerate any unlawful activities in the motor parks in the state, especially the collection of the levies banned by the government.
Speaking through their lawyer, Mr. Felix Obi-Okafor, the park managers, alleged that “some illegal transport union and drivers association are instigating trouble in the parks to create wrong impression to the state government who contracted them.”