Human Interest

Demolition: OCHA Brigade clashes with Onitsha traders, Police Intervene, 4 Injured


By Our correspondent

There was pandemonium yesterday at Niger Street Onitsha, following a clash between the Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra State, OCHA, Brigade and some traders using umbrella to cover themselves after Anambra State government demolition of their shops.

The men of OCHA brigade had contrary to an Interim Injunction restraining the Anambra State Government, the Attorney General of Anambra State, Emeka Orji (Chairman Caretaker Committee Onitsha South Local Government Area of Anambra State) and Inspector General of Police),
invaded the Ndende land located along Niger Street Onitsha South Council Area, where the state government through the Onitsha South council area authority had demolished over 863 shops and 27 sand pits belonging to Lake Petroleum Limited, and hisbtenants.

Also destroyed were the goods including food, drinks and other articles of trader and umbrellas of the traders which resulted in a clash between them and the OCHA Brigade operatives, a taskforce of Anambra State government.

However, but for the timely intervention of the Police men from Fegge Police Station Onitsha, the clash would have been blood as the traders involved are said to be still nursing their wounds over the destruction of their shops and goods during the demolition by Onitsha South Local Government authorities.

One of the many angry traders who spoke to newsmen on behalf of the affected traders, Mr Nzube Okoye, said that they have been managing to feed and take care of their families, while waiting for the determination of the Suit by their landlord, Lake Petroleum Limited against Anambra State government over their attempted forceful ejection from the land by the state government through the Onitsha South Local Government authority.

“We are not occupying here illegally, we are permitted by the order of the court, which is an Order of Interim Injunction secured by our landlord Lake Petroleum Limited, against the Anambra State Government, the Attorney General of Anambra State, Emeka Orji, who is the Chairman Caretaker Committee Onitsha South Local Government Area, Anambra State and the Inspector General of Police.

“Our landlords is in possession of the Certificate of Occupancy of the land and had secured an Interim Injunction which must be respected, against the Anambra State government over our stay here. We expect the State Government and its agents like OCHA Brigade to respect the court order, but they won’t, everything they have been doing here since the interim order was secured has all been in breach of the court order.

“The state government should call the men of OCHA Brigade to order, they are embarrassing the government and disobeying a valid Order of the Federal High Court Awka with the Suit No: FHC /AWK/ CS/75/2024. We have the Interim Injunction restraining government and its agents from disturbing us here.” said Okoye.

It will be recalled Lake Petroleum Limited, had through its lawyer Mr Gerald Ezeuko, SAN, secured an Order of Interim Injunction from the Federal High Court Awka, with the Suit No: FHC /AWK/ CS/75/2024, restraining the Anambra State Government’, the Attorney General of Anambra State, Emeka Orji (Chairman Caretaker Committee Onitsha South Lical Government Area of Anambra State and Inspector General of Police) who are the Respondents in the Suit, their agents, privies, cronies from further invasion, entering, demolition and sealing off and stationing armed thugs and Policemen on the landed property known as Ndende Land situate along Niger Street Onitsha South Local Government Area Anambra State covered by Building Certificate of Occupancy issued in the name of Lake Petroleum Limited, the Applicant.

They Order also prohibits the Respondents from further denying the Applicant, its staff and tenants access or entry into the saud land to carry out their daily legitimate businesses pending the determination of the Substantive Motion for Enforcement of the Applicant’s Fundamental Right to own immovable property in Nigeria.

By Ifeizu Joe

Ifeizu is a seasoned journalist and Managing Editor of TheRazor. He has wide knowledge of Anambra State and has reported the state objectively for over a decade.

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