Looming anarchy: Onitsha biz community seeks justice over LG boss' lawlessness
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Looming anarchy: Onitsha biz community seeks justice over LG boss’ lawlessness

CONCERNED CITIZENS OF ONITSHA BUSINESS COMMUNITY: ANARCHY LOOMS IN ANAMBRA STATE; A CRY TO NIGERIAN JUDICIARY

“Save us from the hands of this man, Emeka Orji who does not have respect for the Law and Orders of the Court.”

We the Concerned Citizens, doing businesses in Niger Street Fegge Onitsha Anambra State, wish to bring your attention to the lawlessness, disrespect for the law and orders of the court happening at Niger Street Onitsha, being perpetrated by the Transition Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area, Mr. Emeka Orji, who claim to be above the law by not respecting court orders through his conduct and activities.

We are citizens of Nigeria doing businesses of sand mining and trading at Niger Street Onitsha and paying successive state governments necessary levied and taxes and have remained law abiding, with some of us being members of the ruling party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, in the state who worked so tirelessly and relentlessly to enthrone the state Governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo.

Recently, precisely on 11 March 2024, the Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Area, Mr. Emeka Orji, mobilized bulldozers and operatives of the Anambra State Vigilante, AVS, Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra State, ‘Ocha Brigade’ and the men of the Nigerian Police to our business premises and started pulling down structures claiming to be carrying the orders of the Anambra State Governor to demolish structures and leveling of sand miners beaches.

Some of us who were courageous enough to approach Mr. Orji, in the face of the retinue of security men he mobilized to carry out the demolition of our structures, including houses, shops and leveling of our sand beaches, got the arrogant answer that we have been warned to vacate from Niger street, that Government want to recover its land.

Successive governments in the state, from former Governor Chinweoke Mbadinuju, now late, to Dr Chris Ngige, Mr Peter Obi and Chief Wille Obiano, just as successive Transition Chairmen of Onitsha South Local Government Area, have come and gone and none harassed or intimidated us like what we are seeing today, under the present government in the state and the tenure of the current Transition Chairman of Onitsha South Local Government Mr. Emeka Orji.

However by the time the Onitsha South Local Government authorities completed the demolition exercise of March 11th 2024, no fewer than 2300 shops along Niger Street Fegge, Onitsha South Local Government Area Anambra State, were demolished by the man who claimed to be carrying out the orders of Governor Chukwuma Soludo whom we believe is a man that have respect for rule of law. We are therefore surprise to see Emeka Orji break the law with impunity under his government in Anambra State.

We are occupiers of houses and shops located by the bank of the River Niger, where we are made to understand is the Right of Ways for National Inland Waterways, NIWA. while some of us are members of Sand Miners Association of Anambra State, other are petty traders servicing them, while others are workers for the sand miners who operate equipment used in excavating sand.

The demolition of the shops has rendered over 4000 of us displaced, while multi millions naira worth of equipments, goods were damaged in the exercise, individual lost over 130 shops, and equipment worth millions of naira in the demolished shops, just as goods were damaged, because there was no prior information over the demolition.

Mr. Orji, who supervised the demolition claimed to have informed the victims, but he never did that, he acted with impunity on the alleged orders of Governor Chukwuma Soludo, but one thing clear to us is that the demolition exercise was vindictive one targeted at some people who refused to settle some government officials because they are paying appropriate taxes and levies to the government and does not want to cut cornets or pay to illegal revenue collector from Onitsha South Local Government Area, and others claiming to be working for government.

As law abiding citizens, we took our faith to God, knowing that the properties, we occupy are owned by people who have managed them for over 40 to 50 years and will therefore, not keep quiet and allow anybody to disposes them of such properties with ease, and therefore must go for redress.

True to our believe, some of the land lords went to court and one of them has secured restraining orders against the state government, Onitsha South Local Government Area and the Police, from further action in Ndende Land, (The Subject Matter to the suit) until the case is decided.

The specific order of the court directed that the processes be served to the Secretary to the State Government SSG, the Attorney General of the State, the office of the Chairman Caretaker Committee, Onitsha South Local Government Area Secretariat and the Nigerian Police Force, Anambra State Command, Awka Anambra State, the processes have been served to all the concerned agencies and governments. 

The Police seem to have obeyed the order of the court, as we have not seen them in the meddlesome activities like excavating the rods used in building the demolished houses and stores and taking them away as being done by Onitsha South Local Government Area officials who in spite of court order have continue demolition and excavating activities in the land.

We are shocked that a government which claim to be responsible, Onitsha South Local Government authorities in particular, in a metropolitan town like Onitsha, which should be an example to other local governments in the state, has a very deep disrespect for the Court and the law following its Sunday 21st, Monday 22nd and Tuesday 23rd April 2024, demolition exercise on the same land it has been restrained from carrying out similar action it carried out on March 11th 2024.

It is laughable that government has employed it propaganda machine against us and our business premises calming that we are operating and doing our businesses on Illegal structures and shanties, a claim that is a lie from the pit of hell. We are operating on both Federal and State governments, and even NIWA approved spaces.

We are not only angry that our machines, goods and other personal belongings were destroyed in the demolition exercises, but our anger stems more from the fact that the man Emeka Orji supervising the exercise has been boasting that we are wasting our time in the court, that the government has reclaimed its land and therefore the court will not do anything otherwise.

We are therefore, urging the Nigerian Judiciary to hear the cry of the common man, hear the cry of over 5000 business owners, workers and traders displaced with the illegal demolition exercise of Onitsha South Local Government Area, said to have the blessing of the Anambra State Government.

We believe that this case is a test case for the Judiciary, Anambra State should not always be known as a place where lawlessness reign Supreme. The Judiciary must save us from this man who does not have respect for the law and orders of the court, his boasting that the courts and the judiciary are powerless should not stand, the law must take its course.

Signed: Okachukwu Duru (Chairman)

Nethan Ndukuba (Secretary)

Chinedu Okoye (Public Relations Officer)

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