Posted by Ifeoma Okafor, Awka | 29 September 2017 | 1,556 times
About 100 officials of the Anambra State Fire Service have been displaced from their homes located along Obodoukwu Road in Okpoko, Ogbaru Local Government Area of the state following the demolition of their residential apartments.
The demolition exercise was said to have commenced after a seven-day quit notice that was issued to the occupants of the premises who were mostly staff of the state fire service elapsed.
It was gathered that the demolition exercise lasted for five days with not less than 20 heavily armed local vigilante men and over 50 officials of the OCHA Brigade keeping watch to respond to any challenge while the exercise lasted.
A statement made available to journalists titled, “Government of Anambra State of Nigeria, Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra (OCHA) Brigade” and signed by the Managing Director/Superintendent-General, Pat Chiezigo Obiefuna reads in part: “Illegal occupation of expanse of land behind fire service. Our attention has been drawn to your illegal occupancy of an expanse of land behind Fire Service,
which has been mapped out for development of the Onitsha Urban Motor park by the Anambra State Government.
“Consequently, you are directed to vacate the property and vicinity within one week. Failure to comply with the above directive will compel OCHA Brigade enforcement activities. We look forward to your compliance.”
A staffer of the state fire service, Mr. Udealor Sunday, pleaded with Governor
Willie Obiano to come to their rescue saying that they do not have alternative place to live from where they will be coming to work.
He said: “We have six buildings (quarters) here built by the staff themselves on oral agreement with the then Governor, Chinwoke Mbadinuju who told us that we can build the quarters on our own and some of us did and live with their families.
“We are not saying that we will not vacate but that we should be given enough time as families since no alternative place is made available to us.”
Another official who pleaded anonymity said: “We were surprised when the premises that is about two acres was plotted and fenced few days ago leaving just a plot for our operation and they have blocked one of the emergency exit gates from the Onitsha/Asaba Expressway.
“That means we cannot pass through the Expressway gate again, it must be through the Obodoukwu gate. This is derailing from the condition under which this office was set up considering that this area is prone to incessant fire outbreak.
“The four service vehicles here now cannot turn to drive out because there is no more space and this will cause delay during emergency. We know our people- oriented Governor, Willie Obiano will not allow this to happen and render us homeless as the expiry date of the quit notice served us is almost near.”
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