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Stories Abound of His Misdeeds, But… — Anambra Govt Reacts to Brutalization of Man by Its Agency


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

The Anambra State government has condemned the brutalization of a suspected tout by its anti-tout agency, Special Anti-touting Squad of Anambra (SASA).

It is no longer news that the media space was awash on Tuesday with viral video of a man being brutalized in an enclosed place with a short pestle with which his maltreaters repeatedly hit him to near death, accusing him of touting.

While the victim has finally been identified as Mr. Wilfred Ezike (popularly known as Mgbiligba), his maltreaters have also been identified as officials of SASA.

It was gathered that victim has been hospitalized since after the incident, with bandage all over his body, as he still struggles for his dear life.

The horrible video of the inhumane treatment meted out to the victim has also continued to generate a chain of mixed reactions, as residents share their views on the incident.

However, reacting to the incident, the Anambra State Government, while noting that the victim has many accusations and attestation about his misdeeds in the State, also totally condemned such brutality metted out to him by the agency.

Speaking on behalf of the government, the State’s Commissioner for Homeland Affairs, Hon. Chikodi Anarah, in a statement made available to newsmen on Wednesday, vowed that the state government would fish out the SASA officers responsible for such brutalization and punish them accordingly, adding that he had felt bad since he watched the video.

The statement read: “I have been alerted to a viral video on the arrest and manhandling of one Wilfred Ezike, also known as Mgbiligba by SASA operatives. I really feel bad that an incident of that nature took place. I have felt bad all through the day since somebody posted the video to me.

“It is true that some people are unrepentantly committed to various criminalities on the basis of which innocent citizens remain in miserable conditions running their legitimate day to day life, but we must handle human beings according to prescriptions of the law, no matter their offence. Our Government is law abiding, and that is why we must fish out the SASA operatives involved in the incident under reference and punish them accordingly.

“It is also true that we are resolute to stamp out “agberos,” but that must happen within confines of the laws of the land. Interestingly, people have been commenting and reacting. This shows life in an organised democracy. Some of them allege various levels of atrocities committed by Wilfred Ezike for which he ought to have been more severely manhandled and brought to book while counter narratives insist that he should not be manhandled at all. For me, and the Government of Anambra State, nothing justifies brutality, and that is why we will punish the erring operatives.

“According to records published in various platforms, Wilfred Ezike had been in and out of prison custody for alleged murder of innocent people while with his boys, extorting money from them. He is said to be a major kingpin of toutism in whose hands people have gone through hell.

“We were informed that there was widespread jubilation among Onitsha traders and ‘keke’ operators when they heard about his arrest. They alleged that he was dreaded, but that (if true) does not imply that SASA should not follow the law in dealing with him.

“Other comments are that SASA operatives may have been enraged because, according to them, he wrote a petition against them falsely alleging that they killed somebody along Niger Street, Onitsha. SASA was further quoted as saying that he did that to commence his effort to cripple its job so as to continue his unholly business. Police investigation is said to support SASA’s position that the petition was unfounded.

“General comments have also expressed opinions that Wilfred had been prominent in fighting previous administrations to a standstill in their effort to curb the State of touts and their activities.”

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