DCO, lawyer avert another #EndSARS protest in Onitsha as angry traders storm police division over alleged harassment, extortion

February 11, 2021
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By CHUKS EKE

The timely interventions of both the Divisional Crime Officer, DCO at Fegge Police Division, Onitsha, Anambra state, Stephen Odok, a Superintendent of Police, SP and the Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Onitsha branch, Mrs. Margaret Wilcox-Iwuchukwu saved what could have degenerated to another round of #EndSARS protest by some traders at GUO Plaza, Onitsha.

The traders who are mainly dealers on GSM handsets and accessories, had carried their placards to the Police Station in protest against what they termed as incessant arrests, extortion, harassment, intimidation and detention of their members on trump-up charges, saying that the protest was to drive home their grievances to the higher police authorities against their subordinates  in the division and possibly beyond.

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On their arrival at the gate of the Fegge Police Division, with their placards, some of which had the inscription: “We won’t condone further harassment, intimidation, extortion and unlawful detentions”, the angry traders, seeing that the entrance gate into the compound was locked, wanted to embark on a violence demonstration but their legal counsel, Margaret Wilcox-Iwuchukwu Esq who accompanied them to the Division, advised them to remain calm as she met with police authorities.

The traders however obeyed her and stood in front of the gate and displayed their placards peacefully, while their lawyer took some of their leaders along to the office of the DCO where they met briefly.

According to the Leader of the protest Mr. Basil Udekwe Igodo who is the Chief Security Officer of the plaza, ” Enough is enough. How can a notorious criminal who boasted he would implicate every member of the plaza point at one of our executives claiming he was the one that buys stolen phones from him.

“The police will just come and arrest someone claiming he has been implicated. They would end up extorting hundreds of thousands of naira without due investigation. We have an unwritten law in our plaza noone is allowed to buy phone from individuals or you face sanction”, he alleged.

In her own reaction, Wilcox-Iwuchukwu  told newsmen that she got wind of the demonstration and decided that the matter be addressed forthwith but ensured that the protest did not degenerate to destruction and looting. She counseled the traders expressing the confidence that the matter could be resolved amicably adding that the association was ready to take legal action should the alleged intimidation continue.

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