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Sunday, June 23, 2024

You Must Enter Our Own Bus: Anambra Govt Arrests Two Touts Harassing, Extorting Travellers in Onitsha


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

Two suspected touts, who specialize in extorting and forcing travellers to board vehicles they don’t want to board, have been arrested in Anambra State.

The suspected touts, who around motor parks in Onitsha commercial city, were said to have been arrested by the authorities of the Onitsha South Local Government Area.

Confirming this in a statement made available to newsmen, the Onitsha South L.G.A. Media said a total of N81,500 extorted from people by the touts were also recovered and refunded to their rightful owners by the Authorities, who also impounded two buses for the illegalities.

“This development is the result of the special monitoring team set up by the Chairman of the Council area, Chief Emeka Joseph Orji, to work with the State Anti-Touting Squad (SASA) in the fight against incidences of touting in the area.

“Earlier before this arrest, touts operating along Upper Iweka at the most private and public parks forced unsuspecting commuters and passersby into commuter buses, forced them to remain in the bus, collected transport fare from them, and released them when the real passengers came, without refunding them their money.

“Those who refused to enter the buses were beaten black and blue by the touts and forced into the bus. And so far, seven victims had earlier reported to the Council about their ordeals in the hands of the touts,” the statement partly read.

Recounting her ordeal, one of the victims, Mrs Nneka Okoye, said she  was looking for a bus to go to Owerri when the people besieged her and told her that their bus was going to Owerri. She, however, said when she discovered that the bus was going to Benin and wanted to come down, the touts insisted that she remain in their bus, and even extorted the sum of N18,500.00 from her, which they did not refund to her.

“It was when I saw one of my neighbours that I started screaming, and my neighbour called the SASA squad that came to my rescue,” she said.

Onitsha South Media explained that, upon hearing about the incident, the Council Chairman Orji, in the company of top officials of the Local Government got to the private park and called for the arrest of the two suspected drivers and the impounding of the two buses.

Reacting to the development, the Council Boss, Chief Orji decried the activities of touts in the area, regretting that despite the orders and warnings of Governor Chukwuma Soludo  against touting, some people are still neck deep in the act.

He recalled that, about five months ago, the Governor launched the State Anti-Touting Agency Squad, and we have been able to take over major flash points of touting, but some people remain neck deep in the act.

His words: “We have zero tolerance for touting in Onitsha South Local Government Area, and we shall not relent in this fight. And we discovered that this is more on the part of private parks, and we use this medium to warn both public and private parks operators to be very vigilant or they would face sanctions.

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