By Nosa Akenzua, Asaba
Security agents protecting the properties of Asaba Shopping Mall otherwise known as Shoprite have continued to hit hard on tricycle riders for stopping over to drop their passengers around the shopping premises.
The security agents comprising the Police, soldiers and members of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps ( NSCDC) were on Wednesday deployed to the Shopping Mall when some irritate youths were advancing to the premises with sinister motive of setting the mall ablaze following the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in faraway South Africa.
Inside heavy rain, the security agents swooped on tricycle riders, claiming they could be used to burn down the shopping mall with wipers with their tricycle impounded.
Within Okpanam road axis where the shopping mall is located, there is palpable tension and fear of the unknown following firece looks of the security agents who do not listen to explanation from the tricycle riders including unsuspecting pedestrian who may be standing and waiting for tricycle riders to take them to their destination.
Victims of the security agents, who spoke to journalists, one of them, David Akpase said that the security agents impounded his tricycle because he dropped his passengers on the Shopping Mall roadside, alleging that he was beaten blue black before help came his way by the security agents.
It was gathered that stubborn Asaba indigenes who allegedly made attempt to harrass the security agents were detained within the Shopping Mall premises before they were subsequently released with stern warning.
The closure of the Shopping Mall on Wednesday was greeted with mixed feelings as the workers regretted their temporary out of job while others described it as a welcome development with a view ensuring a stop to the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians.
However, the state Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu described the attack on Nigerians in South Africa as barbaric and wicked and called on federal government to take proactive measures with a view to ensuring those involved are brought to the law.
In a swift reaction, the state Commissioner of Police, Adeyinka Adeleke who confirmed the presence of the security agents at the Shopping Mall, said that it was to protect and forestall law and order, and warned trouble makers to steer clear of the premises till further notice.