Have Touts Overrun Anambra’s Space?

These days what comes out of Anambra State sound like tales of the absurd. The latest was the molestation of a woman at the Upper Iweka area of the commercial city of Onitsha by touts who arrested fined her for not wearing a brassiere. It was an incident that drew wide condemnation from many citizens who queried why the state government should be allowing those touts to act as they like, especially since they claim to be working for the same government.

On the heels of that was the story of how some members of the Anambra State Vigilance Group, AVG, stormed parts of Okpuno, a suburb of Awka capital city, and forcefully embarked on the enforcement of payment of security levies by residents of the area. In the process they fired gunshots, some of which hit the walls of residential homes. The house of a female student was forcefully entered while she was undressed.

She was allegedly beaten and arrested before being taken to their station where she allegedly paid a fine of N5, 000 which was outside the levy of N500 initially imposed. Such crude method of making people pay security levies is unnecessary and is a method that is bound to trigger an uprising if government fails to intervene.

Those who carried out this crude enforcement of security levies in Awka should be arrested and paraded before being punished. What if their bullets had been stopped by an innocent person? Government should quickly review the kind of persons executing its revenue policy, especially in Onitsha.

It is unfortunate that suddenly touts have resurfaced all over the place. Indeed, such lawlessness is slowly but steadily increasing in the state by such people claiming to work for the government.

While the bra incident may not have the direct imprimatur of the government, it happened because government has been using untrained, uncouth and criminally minded people in the collection of revenue in some places.

There’s a limit to which a people can be pushed. Not wearing bras by women is not our problem now. If left unchecked, very soon women will be molested for not wearing pants. The government should therefore quickly intervene on these matters and work with people who have civilized manners.

Care should really be taken so that criminals are not recruited to work for government in the derivation of revenue; otherwise, the purpose will be defeated.

Meanwhile, we call on the state government to clear the air on the Upper Iweka incident as such cannot be condoned in any sane and civilized society.

Anambra is the Light of the Nation, according to her motto, and she must be seen to exhibit that. The government cannot say it has banned touts from the public space and yet be seen to be using them. Many of those people are known to live on the fringes of criminality, if not full blown criminals. They should therefore have no business with any government activity.

Anambra has grown bigger than this.