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Traders at the Bridge Head area of Onitsha, Anambra State yesterday went on a protest over the alleged demolition of their shops by officials of the Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra (OCHA Brigade).
The traders said some of the demolitions, which were carried out in the area, were done to deal with some perceived enemies and, also, to settle old scores.
Some traders, who spoke to newsmen after officials of the organisation allegedly harassed, intimidated, and demolished some shops around the area, close to the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) Park, called on the state governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, to check the activities of the agency.
The business people, who said they supported every legitimate moves by the government to clean up the state, said witch-hunting of their members because of past misunderstandings or quarrels were totally unacceptable to them.
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A shop owner in the area, Mr. Ifeanyi Iwuchukwu, said his colleagues supported the governor’s moves to rebuild and transform the state into a smart mega city and a prosperous, liveable homeland. He, however, lamented that some of the officers of the OCHA Brigade, who were once with them, now use their new positions to settle differences with their perceived enemies around the area.
Iwuchukwu, therefore, appealed to Soludo to set up an unbiased and independent committee that would come to assess the recent activities of the agency around the Bridge Head area.
A woman, Mrs. Uju Odinuko, who runs a canteen in the area, alleged that her cooked foods worth hundreds of thousands of naira were thrown away by the government’s agents. She said she had taken a loan from a commercial bank to support her business.
‘Where will I see money to repay the loan I got from the bank now that they have thrown everything away?” Odinuko queried with tears cascading her cheeks’.
The traders, therefore, begged the governor to intervene before the situation worsens.