4 injured as Anambra traders, sanitation officers clash

Pandemonium at Niger Street market in Onitsha, on Tuesday, following a clash between operatives of the Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra State Brigade and some traders using umbrellas as shelter after the Anambra state government demolished their shops.

The operatives of the OCHA brigade had invaded the Ndende land located along Niger Street in Onitsha South LGA, where the state government through the Onitsha South authority destroyed over 863 shops and 27 sand pits belonging to Lake Petroleum Limited, and its inhabitants.

The action of the OCHA brigade was 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), from encroaching the said location.

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

However, without the timely intervention of the police officers from Fegge Police Station, Onitsha, the clash would have been bloody as the traders involved were 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 journalists on behalf of the affected traders, 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.

Okoye said, “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 landlord has 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 the government and its agents from disturbing us here.”

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