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Onitsha Demolitiions – Did Soludo Order Brutalisation of Odumeje?



Odumeje assault


ANYONE who watched the brutalisation of Onitsha mercurial preacher Chukwuemeka Ohanaemere, more known as Odumeje, during the demolition of his church would object strongly to the actions of the security agents who descended on the petite comic cleric.

Their lawlessness that was on display had no bearing on their assignment. Was the assignment impossible without their illegal action?

Odumeje’s church along with other properties on that side of Onitsha had been marked for demolition. Governor Chukwuma Soludo early in his administration announced the demolitiions during visits to parts of Onitsha.
Never did he mention that property owners would be beaten in the course of taking their properties out of illegal sites like waterways. The security agents acted true to their nature.

They are used to deploying force where it was unnecessary. Were slaps and kicks the best way to take Odumeje out of the place, assuming as they claimed, he was obstructing the demolition?
How did he obstruct the demolition? He wasn’t standing before the church. Even if he did, couldn’t he have been removed without the series of slaps? It was not as if he was a huge fellow that a few hands could not have taken him away from the vicinity.
Who else was beaten during the demolition? Was it only Odumeje? If he was the only victim of the beatings, was he targeted?
Odumeje represented the oppressed masses. People who do not like him have commended the beating. They claim he had destroyed shrines illegally. Why didn’t anybody sue him as I am wont to suggest for this assault?
Agents of governments work for us. Part of their job is not to beat us, or humiliated us to the applause of some members of our society who think security agents have the right to behave as they please.
A viral video had shown the comic cleric being manhandled by security men, including police officers, and one enterprising young man whose slaps suggested that his mission was, given the chance, to demolish Odumeje.
The preacher was severally slapped and restricted from moving to the demolition area by armed security men. What was their point?
Some were quick to add the incident to the failures of Soludo who grapples with insecurity as well as a discernable direction for his three-month-old administration. It isn’t a Soludo failure.
“Yesterday’s (Thursday) outing has evoked emotions, not against the decision of the government, but the imperfect and unprofessional manner with which one of the task force members discharged his lawful duty.
“This is highly regretted, and would never happen again. I have instructed that the task force personnel involved in the manhandling of Prophet Chukwuemeka Ohanaemere (Odumeje) be treated by the rules of public conduct which he roundly failed to uphold,” Soludo said.

People would want to know the disciplinary actions that are taken against the unruly security agent. His action was in public glare. The people are entitled to know what disciplinary measures were taken. The punishment will determine the extent of officialdom’s confirmation of the offences committed which includes actions that could result in a breach of public peace.
The Governor continued, “On behalf of the government and good people of Anambra State, I condemn the assault, and further ask for your continued support in the fight to restore the dignity of Onitsha, and indeed the totality of our homeland”.
If Odumeje was not the man beaten the matter would not have gotten this level of attention. The beating could have been just an addition to the sins of the un-numbered uniformed services whose presence makes Onitsha unliveable.
Since the objective of these demolitions is to enhance liveability, one of the structures that need removing is the numerous task forces many of whose members are converted touts. Their day is not made if they were not involved in fist cuffs.

The Governor can do more if salutary lessons are to be drawn from the Odumeje incident. If he asks all those the task force had humiliated to file a report he could be shocked about the numbers. He can try that for a more wholesome treatment of the incident otherwise the brutes could think they would get away if they picked softer targets.
Soludo has enough oppositions that he should not add to them by keeping the services of those whose first recourse is brute force. Let’s see if the demolitions would throw up more such characters or change them.
We would also keep a watch on Soludo’s promise, “this would never happen again”.

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