By Emma Elekwa, Onitsha
Traders at the popular G.U.O Plaza, Niger Street phone market, Onitsha; Anambra state on Wednesday protested alleged incessant Police harassment, extortion and intimidation in the commercial city of the state.
Business activities were grounded along the main market route for hours as the protesters; mostly phone dealers proceeded to the Fegge Police Division, chanting war songs to register their displeasure.
The protesters alleged outright infringement of their rights by gun-wielding policemen who they noted have been milking them dry with fictitious allegations.
Speaking on behalf of the traders, the chief security officer of the market, Basil Udekwe accused policemen from the nearby Fegge Police division of turning their business premises into an extension office where they willfully arrest their fellow traders on alleged buying and selling of stolen phones.
He said, “Some of the policemen who engage in such unholy practice bring some people who just point accusing fingers on any unfortunate trader on sight and they whisk such persons away into detention where hundreds of thousands of naira are exchanged before such victim could breathe the air of freedom.
“One of our genuine members popularly known as Emeka Nnewi is presently in detention over such phony and unfounded allegation of buying stolen phones. Some of them us coughed out between N200, 000 to N500, 000 in the past before regaining freedom unknown to the Divisional Police Officer of the station.”
A legal practitioner, Margaret Wilcox Iwuchukwu who mediated on the plight of the phone dealers urged the police to address the challenge noting that the traders have become restive which could trigger another EndSARS protest.
The Divisional Crime Officer of Fegge Division, Stephen Odok who received the protesting traders on behalf of the DPO, Rabiu Garba assured professional handling of all complaints raised by the aggrieved traders.
While demanding for a full and detailed record of all their complaints, Odok warned that the division under Mr. Rabiu would never condone any corrupt act, urging the complainants to come forward with possible identities of any officer who might have compromised, for effective investigation and disciplinary action.