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By NBF News
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At least two persons are now receiving treatment in a private hospital following gunshot wounds they received from policemen attached to the revenue contractors of Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA).

The state government had earlier in the year banned the use of policemen and other security personnel in collection of revenue following reported cases of harassment and intimidation by such officers.

Residents of the city have daily complained about and decried the manner the said ASEPA revenue contractors, who they accused of not doing anything to improve the environmental sanitation of the city, engaged the services of the police to harass, intimidate and extort money from them.

Narrating his ordeal to Daily Sun on his sick bed at a private hospital in Aba, one of the victims of the ASEPA revenue contractors' brutality, Mr. Ugwu Iroha, said at about 8.30am on December 9, he was in the sitting room of their house located off Ngwa Road, discussing with his elder sister when all of a sudden he heard a noise outside and rushed to find out what the noise was all about.

According to Ugwu, who, together with his younger brother, Ndubuisi, came back from Spain and Germany respectively about three weeks ago to bury their mother, 'as I came out, I saw four men inside the compound and one of them was trying to climb inside when my brother stopped him and wanted to find out his mission.'

He said the men told them they were ASEPA men and had come to arrest people living in the compound. But they could not properly identify themselves nor show any warrant of arrest.

Ugwu stated further: 'As we were still in doubt about their mission, one of them went out and brought in more men. They held my brother and insisted they must take him to the police station. In an effort to know why he should be taken to police station, they started beating me and the only man among them who wore police uniform threatened to shoot me and before I knew it, he shot me at the leg and they forcefully took my brother to Ndiegoro Police Station where they collected N10,000 from him without issuing any receipt.

' The worst was that we never knew if there was anything like ASEPA because I just came back some few weeks back from Spain and my brother from Germany to bury our mother who died last month,' he lamented.

Ugwu who said his brother was shot by one Princewill Edewee with Police No: 369244 from Ndiegoro Police Station stated it was painful that such brutality could be meted to them in their own state and mother country.

The second victim who was shot on the stomach and whose identity could not be immediately ascertained had not recovered consciousness when Daily Sun visited the hospital.

Some residents, who spoke over the incidence condemned the brutality of the ASEPA revenue contractors on the people. They said the contractors paid peanut to the state government without helping in the disposal of refuse in the city, only to show up during the December period to unleash mayhem on the people with the connivance of the police and urged the state government to checkmate the contractors' excesses whom they said were constituting public nuisance.

When Daily Sun visited some of the police stations, it was business as usual as relations of those arrested and detained were asked to pay between N5,000 and N10,000 by the contractors who had virtually relocated their offices to such police stations.

The amount paid depends on one's bargaining ability and in most cases, receipts were not issued.

One of the ASEPA revenue contractors who spoke to Daily Sun at one of the police stations and who simply gave his name as Jude said they pay what he called security fees to the state government through ASEPA and were then given the license to operate.

He said they resorted to the use of police in order to re-coup their money and make some 'profits'. He could not however not give any reason they were not rendering any service to the people.