By Ovat Abeng
Anambra State Governor, Chukwuma Charles Soludo, has reiterated that the days of touts in the state are numbered and a full blown war has been declared on them.
He maintained that in an environment where lawlessness has become a culture, bringing back law and order will be difficult.
Governor Soludo made this statement during the launching of the Anambra Special Anti-Touting Squad held at Upper Iweka, Onitsha, the commercial city of the state.
In his speech, Governor Soludo congratulated members of the squad who have been found worthy and offered to serve, urging them to serve with commitment, passion, and diligence. He also advised them to adhere to laid down standards and the code of conduct guiding their operation.
The Governor revealed that members of the anti-touting squad shall collaborate with the Nigerian Armed Forces who have the primary responsibility to keep the State safe.
Governor Soludo pointed out that the launch of the squad is an acceleration on the key promise he made to the people living in the greater onitsha area which consists of Onitsha North, Onitsha South, Ogbaru, Oyi, and Idemili to restore Anambra state known for law and order back to its full glory as the Light of the nation
He said, “When we assumed office, 8 local governments were taken over. Thanks to the combined efforts of our security agencies and the vigilante service with the support of those local government areas have been liberated and normalcy restored. The Governor charged the citizens to always remember the campaign of “if you see something, you say something”.
“We have told the youths to come out from their hideouts and the bush. We shall help to rehabilitate and integrate them into society to be useful to their families, communities, states, and nations.
“While dealing with hoodlums on a larger scale, we will be dealing with touts in Onitsha greater area and Anambra State as a whole.
“We are fighting a war to bring back the soul of our society governed by law and order not a society anyone does what he or she likes arbitrarily without recourse to law and order
“Touts disturb customers who come from every nook and cranny of the country. But this journey is to rescue Onitsha as a commercial hub and Anambra State in general,” the Governor said.
Soludo disclosed phone numbers shall be made available to ndi Anambra to inform the government of any touting activities they notice in the area.
The Governor while warning all market chairmen reiterated that any market where touts are still operating shall be disbanded and the Chairmen shall be removed from office. He maintained that each Market Chairman must take responsibility.
Earlier, the State Commissioner for Homeland Affairs, Chief Chikodiri Anara, in his opening remarks, maintained that the launch of the Special Anti-Touting Squad is the start of the journey. He assured Governor Soludo that the men of the squad are well trained and by December, positive changes will be noticed.
He sounded a note of warning to hoodlums causing trouble in the state to leave the state, as they won’t find it comfortable to operate from now on.
Commissioner for Youth Development, Patrick Aghamba, President General Anambra State Markets Amalgamated Traders Association (ASMATA), Chief Humphrey Anuna, Members of the Armed Forces amongst others attended the event.