Anambra govt. vows to punish officials who brutalised man in viral video

The Anambra State Government has reacted to a viral video of a man being brutalised by operatives of the Special Anambra Anti-Touting Squad.


The state government vowed to punish the erring operatives.


In a video shared online on Tuesday, March 12, a man who has been identified as Wilfred Ezike, aka Mgbilimg alt=’Anambra govt. vows to punish officials who brutalised man in viral video’ class=’img-responsive text-center’ style=’margin: auto;’ba, in Onitsha, Anambra State, was brutally beaten by people said to be members of SASA.


Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, inaugurated the state Anti-touts Squad (SASA) in 2023 to tackle the increasing spate of touting in the state.


However, a video showed men said to be SASA operatives beating Wilfred with a pestle until he bled. The victim reportedly went into a coma following the assault.


In a video of the assault, the said officials hit their victim’s legs and ankles with a pestle while questioning him over an unknown issue. They then posted the video on social media.


Wilfred is seen pleading for mercy in the video but the men showed him none.


Begging them to allow him to explain himself, Wilfred said to the person filming: “In-law, please, let me explain myself.


The person filming replied: “Why are you telling me ‘let’s take a covenant’. Let’s make a covenant so what will happen? Who do you want me to take the oath with”


“In-law, please let me speak,” Wilfred begged as the man with the pestle continued hitting his ankles with it.


“What do you have to say?” the man behind the camera asked.


“What I have to say is I didn’t do anything,” the victim replied.


“Who wrote it?” the man filming asked.


“It’s not me that wrote it. It’s Sylvester. Read it. It’s not me that wrote it,” Wilfred pleaded.


“Your brother that collects a levy on Niger street. Isn’t that where he collects money?” the man filming asks.


The video doesn’t exactly explain why the men are flogging Wilfred but viewers have explained that it has to do with illegal ticket collection at Niger Street in Onitsha.


Anambra govt. vows to punish officials who brutalised man in viral video


As the beating continued, Wilfred screamed in pain and stood but they ordered him to sit back down


“Please, it’s not me. Please,” he said as he rolled around in pain.


“Please, I will die,” he pleaded, trying to block his legs with his bleeding fingers.


“It’s your leg we want,” the man with the pestle said.


“Please, I’m dying,” he begged.


“I want you to die,” the anti-tout operative beating him said.


At this point, Wilfred’s jeans were already wet with blood but the beating did not stop.


Anambra govt. vows to punish officials who brutalised man in viral video


“My wife is pregnant,” Wilfred begged. “Have mercy on me, please. Tamper with mercy.”


Reacting to the video, the Anambra State Commissioner for Homeland Affairs, Chikodi Anarah, said in a statement on Wednesday, March 13: “We are investigating the matter and will punish the erring SASA operatives.”


The statement continued: “I have been alerted to a viral video on the arrest and manhandling of one Wilfred Ezike, also known as Mgbiligba by SASA operatives. I really feel bad that an incident of that nature took place. I have felt bad all through the day since somebody posted the video to me.


“It is true that some people are unrepentantly committed to various criminalities on the basis of which innocent citizens remain in miserable conditions running their legitimate day-to-day life, but we must handle human beings according to prescriptions of the law, no matter their offence.


“Our government is law-abiding, and that is why we must fish out the SASA operatives involved in the incident under reference and punish them accordingly.


“It is also true that we are resolute to stamp out ‘Agberos’, but that must happen within the confines of the laws of the land. Interestingly, people have been commenting and reacting. This shows life in an organised democracy.


“Some of them allege various levels of atrocities committed by Wilfred Ezike for which he ought to have been more severely manhandled and brought to book, while counter-narratives insist that he should not be manhandled at all. For me, and the government of Anambra State, nothing justifies brutality, and that is why we will punish the erring operatives.


“According to records published in various platforms, Wilfred Ezike had been in and out of prison custody for the alleged murder of innocent people while with his boys, extorting money from them. He is said to be a major kingpin of touts in whose hands people have gone through hell.


“We were informed that there was widespread jubilation among Onitsha traders and ‘keke’ operators when they heard about his arrest. They alleged that he was dreaded, but that (if true) does not imply that SASA should not follow the law in dealing with him.


“Other comments are that SASA operatives may have been enraged because, according to them, he wrote a petition against them falsely alleging that they killed somebody along Niger Street, Onitsha.


“SASA was further quoted as saying that he did that to commence his effort to cripple its job so as to continue his unholy business. A police investigation is said to support SASA’s position that the petition was unfounded.


“General comments have also expressed opinions that Wilfred had been prominent in fighting previous administrations to a standstill in their effort to curb the State of touts and their activities.”


Anambra govt. vows to punish officials who brutalised man in viral video


Watch the video of the assault here.

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