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Pandemonium as Stray bullet reportedly kills University graduate

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A stray bullet allegedly from members of the Anambra State taskforce stopping people from urinating around the popular Head Bridge Market in Onitsha had claimed the life of a political science graduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

The victim,  Arinze Obunadike from Okija, Ihiala local government area of Anambra State, was said to be running with other traders when members of the taskforce were chasing people urinating in the vicinity. One one of the operatives allegedly opened fire on them at close range, killing Arinze Obunadike instantly.

A family source said the late Arinze Obunadike returned from Malaysia recently and was making plans to travel to either the United States of America or Canada in the next few months.

His aged mother in her 70s, is yet to be informed of the death of her son.

An eye witness at the Bridge head market said: “The task force men stopping people from urinating in an open place(gutter)caught a  boy from the surgical line urinating in the gutter.The young man has a shop at the surgical line of the market  very close to the gutter and when he was caught,his colleagues tried to force the task force members to let him go.

“Fight ensued and weapons started flying around and people, including myself, scampered for safety.

“Our late brother, Arinze, also ran with others. He was not involved in the clash.He was on his own running like others before he was hit by the bullet. “The  traders in the surgical line then came out with chemicals from their shops and started throwing them at the taskforce men. Planks,cutlasses and other dangerous weapons were freely used and many people were wounded.” The Anambra State government has reacted to the incident, saying it was not the intention of members of the Special Anambra State Anti-Touting Squad (SASA) to kill anyone.

Commissioner for Information, Mr. Paul Nwosu, in a statement said: ” On Friday the 16th of February, the Special Anambra State Anti-Touting Squad (SASA) was on its usual official assignment to rid the Niger Bridge head area of touts extorting money from transport operators and buyers from the surrounding markets.

“In a bid to arrest the erring touts, some of them ran into the nearby Ogbo Ogwu (pharmaceutical) market. As SASA went after the culprits, some of the traders launched massive acid attacks on them. Four out the seven- man SASA team sustained life threatening injuries from the acid attack and doctors are battling to save their lives in the hospital.

“As if the acid attack was not effective, the market security personnel started shooting at the unarmed SASA officials. When it was obvious that SASA could not arrest the touts in the market as a result of the life -threatening attack against them, they retreated.

“It was at this point that the Nigerian Navy intervened to arrest the ugly situation. In the process of exchanging fire with the market security, the young man in question was unfortunately hit by the  bullet from the market’s security personnel.

“Cartridges found around the young man belong to Pump Action rifles usually used by Vigilante  groups and market security personnel. The cartridges don’t fit into the model of service rifles used by the Nigerian Navy.

“The tale by the market authority that the young man was shot because he was urinating is simply unintelligible. SASA officials are not OCHA Brigade or sanitary inspectors or environmental sanitation officers who have the responsibility to deal with such misdemeanor.

“SASA does not carry fire arms and couldn’t have shot the young man for whatever reason. Moreover, SASA’s brief is not to kill, but to arrest touts who are extorting money from hard working Ndi Anambra. And where arrests are made, the suspects are made to face the law.”

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