The member representing Ogbaru Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Hon. Afam Victor Ogene, has implored the Governor of Anambra state, Prof Charles Soludo, to call agents of the Anambra State Environmental Protection Agency
(ANSEPA) to order.
He said the call had become necessary in order to prevent total breakdown of law and order in Okpoko community over what he described as “illegal and violent activities of of agency in the name of collection of sanitation levy in the area.”
He also said the state government, should in clear terms address the contentious issue of the 2021 and 2022 sanitation levy in the area, so as to conclusively resolve the disagreement and avert a looming security danger in Okpoko.
Hon. Ogene made this call in a statement in Awka on Thursday, October 19, 2023, after receiving a Save Our Soul (SOS) letter by the leadership of the Okpoko community, over their recent harrowing experiences in the hands of agents of the government agency.
The SOS letter by the leadership of Okpoko community, the most populated area in Ogbaru Federal Constituency, was presented after a massive protest by residents of the community, who accuse ANSEPA of illegally and violently demanding 2021 and 2023 sanitation levy, which they said government had already “taken care of,” seemingly during the last governoship campaign period in the state.
Narrating their ordeals in the letter, the Okpoko community disclosed that ANSEPA employed the services of daredevil thugs who often would besiege the community in odd hours of the day – sometimes, as early as 4am – armed with cudgels and wood, going from house to house to terrorise residents, beating and maiming those who fail to pay the alleged illegal levy.
According to Hon. Ogene, such cruel approach to revenue collection is condemnable and ought not to be encouraged in a democracy and any civilized society.
He said “While I am not against revenue generation by government, such activities should be undertaken in a legitimate, civilized, peaceful and fair approach that would not threaten the peace of the people.
“I, therefore, call on Governor Soludo to urgently call ANSEPA management to order, especially the contractor responsible for the collection of levy from Okpoko and Ogbaru Local Government Area in general, in order not to ignite crisis and bad blood between the community and government agencies, that may potentially engulf the state.”