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Monday, April 22, 2024

Another Allegation Surfaces Against Soludo’s OCHA Brigade (Videos)


By Izunna Okafor, Awka

Another allegation has emerged against Anambra state government-owned enforcement agency, Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra, popularly known as OCHA Brigade.

This is coming few months after some traders at Onitsha Main Market and some others at Zik’s Avenue, Awka, accused the agency of illegal arrest and detention, extortion, collection of bribe, abuse of human rights, and generally working against the interest of the State Government and the vision of Governor Chukwuma Soludo to make Anambra a livable and prosperous homeland.

While those accusations still gradually melt down, another string of accusation has emerged against the same agency from a resident of the State.

The current accusation came from a staff of the Milani Cosmetics in Awka, who claimed he had a terrible experience in the hands of the OCHA Brigade operatives over the weekend.

According to him, the Agency’s staff and some armed men stormed his office, which is located in a popular plaza in Awka and enquired if he was the Manager of the plaza, to which he responded No

He said the people told him to follow them to the downside of the premises that they had something to show him; and which, he said, he did, only for them to rough-handle and bundle him into their vehicle after they showed him a gutter that contains sand, trashes and grasses in the plaza. He said he made several attempts to explain to them that he would convey their message to the Management of the plaza as he is just one of the shop owners there — an explanation, he said, they didn’t listen to, let alone releasing him as he requested, despite not having served any prior notice to them.

In a viral social media video obtained by this reporter Izunna Okafor, the Milani Cosmetics staff who did not reveal his name further recounted what he described a horrible experience he had after he was bundled into the vehicle.

According to him, the vehicle had no sitting space, as it was so stuffed up with other arrested people and their arrestors, to the extent that he was forced to lap (carry) someone else after he was punched for refusing to do so.

He further revealed that they were taken to the OCHA Brigade Headquarters at Agu Awka, where they were forced to sit on the ground and then got interviewed for their bio-data and places of arrest, after which they were moved to a small cell in the premises where they were all stocked and locked up, together with the people who were already inside there before they came.

While decrying how he was rough-handled and treated as a criminal despite not having committed any criminal offence, the Milani Cosmetics staff also showed video of the cell with people uncomfortably stocked up therein. He added that some of the inmates in the cell were arrested at building sites where they were working, with their sweat and cement drying on their bodies, making the cell very smelly and uncomfortable for one’s stay.

While noting that he paid to be bailed out of the cell, he also noted that more arrested person were still being brought into the premises as he was going out; hence wondering if the OCHA Brigade operatives are really out there to enrich themselves through such excesses or truly to enforce the policies of the government in the right way and in the best interest of the State.

He further alleged that the agency deliberately arrested innocent persons to make more money through bailing, even when they know they are not the right people to be questioned or punished over the particular matter they arrested them for, and after which they would still go after the Management of the place and still collect fine from them.

The complainant therefore called on Governor Soludo to monitor, checkmate and re-examine the operations and activities of the agency and its staff.

“Mr. Governor, I don’t think this is how you plan this OCHA Brigade to be in Anambra State. And, if this is not how you planned it, I want you to intervene and address this issue… I feel this people are doing a totally business thing on their own.

“Mr. Governor, I just want to bring this thing to your notice, because I am not just totally happy with their services. I want you to react and do the right thing, because I know you may not be aware of how they work out there. But if this is how it is, no problem, we will just keep on going,” he concluded.

When this reporter, contacted him the Public Relations Officer of the OCHA Brigade, Mr. Anthony Agbafune said the Brigade is looking into the matter, while also stressing that the agency holds orderliness to the greatest esteem.

“We are the servants of the State, the taskforce arm of the State. And one of our primary, core assignments is ensuring orderliness. Orderliness is our watchword. That is why we usually preach environmental orderliness.

“And since there is a sort of confusion or grapevine somewhere, we are looking into it. We strongly believe in orderliness. So, we are looking into it. And we will do that as soon as anything,” he said.

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