By Stanley Onyekwere
No fewer than 14 suspected thugs were paraded by the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command for allegedly assaulting government officials on duty.
Our correspondent reports that the suspects include: one Okoli Chinedu, Ogbonna Divine, Abiuodun Oluwale, Nelson Effiong, Bassey Sylvester, Angel Eze, Austine Chigozie, Andrew Onyenwe and Okeowu Acji.
Others were Monday James Omoogun, Sikiru Ibrahim, Issa Lukman, Nwani Ekene and Gabriel Abinemoh.
Parading the suspects at the command headquarters in Garki Abuja, yesterday, the FCT Commissioner of Police, Bala Ciroma disclosed that the “suspected touts posed as revenue collectors to extort and assault unsuspecting members of the public.
“The syndicate is also notorious for assaulting and inflicting varying degrees of injury on government officials who are discharging their lawful duties.”
According to the CP, the suspects, recruited from different parts of the country, were arrested on 7th January at about 0230pm following a distress call that hoodlums numbering about 16 assaulted and inflicted injuries on some government officials attached to the FCTA department of Outdoor Advertisement and Signage (DOAS) and some journalists, while on duty in Wuye.
Ciroma also disclosed that as a result of prompt response from his men, 14 of the suspects (all male) were arrested while two were at large.
He added that they would be soon charged to court while a police manhunt was already on to apprehend those who escaped.
The FCT Police boss also revealed that while the command has recovered a Toyota Haice bus used in conveying the suspects to the crime scene, his men were making concerted efforts to arrest leaders of the syndicate, Terry Okon and Samuel Ele Asiebe.
A staff of DOAS, Ebele Nwakocha, who also suffered severe beating from the touts, hinted at the existence of a strong and powerful cartel who bypasses Treasury Single Account (TSA), collects cash and corner same instead of deposit in government coffers.