The Abia State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, has said the Police authorities had no knowledge of an alleged connivance of its men with touts to flout government’s order at Isi-Gate in Umuahia. Ogbonna, who disclosed this yesterday during an interview with our reporter who asked for a reaction on allegations that police were also conniving with touts at Isi-Gate to extort tricycle operators.
He, however, said that anybody with such complaint should come to his office. Abia State had some months ago ordered traders at Isi-Gate to relocate to Ubani- Ibeku Market, but touts said to have been employed by an Abia politician to work there as task force now collect money and allow traders and others to sell wares in the area.
Tricycle operators within Isi-Gate Umuahia had complained, alleging that policemen connived with the touts to extort them after the touts might have stolen their monies. A tricycle operator, who gave his name simply as Caleb said the policemen usually come from Umuahia Central Police Station (CPS) and Umuahia Area Command to do the dirty job with the touts. Caleb said: “The touts claiming to be employed and empowered as taskforce members at Isi-Gate by a powerful Ibeku, Umuahia-born politician boast that nothing can happen no matter whom they hurt or terrorize.
“The touts harass us for no reason and whenever we challenge them, they will invite their partners from Umuahia CPS and Area Command who will confiscate our tricycles and demand huge sums of money before releasing them. “We’re tired of complaining. If we complain, our union willsaytheywilldosomething, but after several complaints you’ll still see these touts around making life a living hell for all of us. So, we chose to talk to the media.”