Traders in Onitsha have commended Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State for the demolition of illegal structures along the Marine Road at the bank of the River Niger in Onitsha, Anambra State which had served as criminal hideouts over the years.
The traders, who do business around the area, who spoke with Daily Sun, said that part of the area were used as safe havens for dreaded armed robbers, drug peddlers, kidnappers, pirates and drunks.
Mr. Odita (surname withheld) who sells cloths around the area, expressed happiness that the shanties used as criminal hideouts were demolished by the State Taskforce Team on Demolition of Illegal Structures in the state.
“This place is the most fearful and notorious criminal hideout, ex-convicts who have no place to stay also come here to live and refresh in their criminal calling. What we see here before the demolition exercise is better imagined than seen as most of people there turn tiger at night both men and female”.
“When it was heard that the illegal structures must give way, these criminals held meetings severally on whether to attack the task-force team or not. What saved the situation was the nearness of the Prison yard because of its security and military presence within the vicinity”.
“Fear also gripped the taskforce team which forced it to get reenforced by the police from Fegge Division led by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Mr Garba Rabiu, (CSP).
“Pirates who pretend to be fishermen, sand dredgers and boat transporters abound including kidnappers and hard drug peddlers/addicts who always wait to be hired for all manners of illegal operations”.
“The demolition of that place is another good thing that has happened to the people of Anambra state especially residents of Onitsha and environs.
“You hardly differentiate between a drunk and drug addict and even on the day of the demolition of the illegal structures some of them were sighted drinking which put more fears on the taskforce team.”
Also a fish seller, Mrs. Nkechi (surname withheld) said that, “Whenever I come to sell or supply fish within the axis, I will be gripped by fear because of the funny things I see.
“Call-girls, drunks, smokers and others one cannot easily say where they belong to, will be going up and down. Nobody knows who is married and children seen there behave likewise.
“There was a day my basin of fish got lost and all my cries and pleas for mercy fell on deaf ear and the only person who felt for me was a drunk who advised me to quietly leave the place as it was getting late before they will rape me, she stated.