By Ikeugonna Eleke
Residents of Okpuno Area, Awka South Local Government Area, Anambra State have cried out over what they alleged to be intimidation by men of the Anambra State Vigilante Group (AVG).
The residents of the area told journalists that some operatives of the group invaded their homes early Friday morning, August 11, asking for payment for security services.
Some of the residents of the area who spoke to journalists said: ‘Early this morning, vigilante operatives came to our area, beating up everyone, breaking into people’s houses and demanding for payment of security levy.
‘They did not consult us about the levy, they did not also give prior notice. They just came today and started demanding for it, and whoever refused to pay, they beat the person up and even arrested him.
‘They broke into many people’s houses and forced them to pay the money. They said the traditional ruler of the community, His Royal Highness, Engr S. I.Okafor, gave them the order to do.
‘They are collecting N1,500 for each flat and N500 for single rooms. They are doing this without consulting anyone, and that is bad.
‘We have not seen the impact of vigilante in this area. Yesterday, someone’s car was stolen and there is constant robbery in the area, so I don’t know what we should be paying security levy for.’
Another resident of the area who gave his name as Adaeze, said: ‘They broke into my room this morning, while I was still sleeping.
‘I was not dressed, so they broke my door, tore my net door and came into my house, and I was naked and they saw my nakedness. Even as I tried to dress up, they had already started beating me. They arrested me and took me to the vigilante office and collected N5,000 from me as bail. That is besides the N500 they wanted me to pay as security levy.
‘Is it the way levies are collected? We have police, which are the people entrusted with security, why are they now forcing us to pay for what government is already giving us for free of charge? We are calling on the Anambra State governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, to stop them from these harassments,’ she lamented.
Attempts by Fides to get reaction from the spokesperson of the Anambra Vigilante Group, Mr Nweke Nweke, proved abortive as calls to his phones were not taken as at the time of going to press.