Ocha-Brigade Won’t Succumb To Blackmail — MD 

By Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Managing Director of the Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra (Ocha-Brigade) Mr. Celestine Anere,  has made it categorically clear that his agency will not succumb to blackmail and all manner of falsehoods intended to discredit and rubbish the image of the organisation because they operate within the laws establishing the agency.
Anere, who spoke with this journalist in his office on Good Friday, maintained that Ocha-Brigade was an enforcement agency and does not victimise or witch-hunt anyone during enforcements instead the agency strives to vigorously pursue its core mandate of a clean and healthy state devoid of shanties, blockage of drainages, street trading menace and a host of others within the scope of its operations.
He said over 20 of his staff were currently battling with severe injuries from attacks unleashed on them by unscrupulous persons trying to resist the law during enforcements, adding that a staff of his agency has lost his sight to gruesome attacks from members of the public also trying to resist enforcements.
On allegations of illegal detentions, confiscations, extortions and willful dismissal of staff from duties, Ocha-Brigade boss explained that theirs is a paramilitary organisation and that corruption and indiscipline were vices the organization has zero tolerance for.
He said since he became the MD of Ocha-Brigade, no staff has been dismissed instead what he did was to enthrone a culture of punctuality to duties and made the entire workforce more proactive and responsive to their official assignments as required by the law while ensuring that staff welfare was equally prioritised.
On the issue of the arrest of a woman with drugs in Onitsha by Ocha-Brigade, the MD said it was true that a woman and some guys were arrested with drugs in a tricycle in Onitsha. He said the drugs were confiscated and the Commissioner for Health personally ascertained that the drugs were contraband.
Anere who disclosed further that the case was immediately transfered to the State Criminal Investigation Department Awka, maintained that Ocha-Brigade did not detain the woman and did not also collect the sum of N200,000 to release her as falsely being peddled by blackmailers and rumour mongers.
He explained that Ocha-Brigade does not collect any form of gratification because it doesn’t compromise and there is no preferential treatment in the course of enforcements.
The MD who displayed the drugs seized from the said woman in his office for this journalist to see for himself, noted that it would amount to shooting itself in the leg should Ocha-Brigade indulge in bribery and corruption and allow evil become the order of the day in Anambra State.
Another very pertinent issue Mr. Anere responded to was the sealing of houses by Ocha-Brigade. He said Ocha-Brigade doesn’t just seal houses and business premises but it does so where several warnings have been issued for people to desilt the drainages in and around their premises to allow the free flow of water and to avoid erosions and floodings.
He also pointed out that Ocha-Brigade doesn’t invade people’s houses instead it approaches the Court for such orders where people fail to carry out simple tasks of keeping the gutters and their surroundings clean for healthy living.
According to him, Ocha-Brigade has also busted a baby factory in the State where about 8 teenage girls with various stages of pregnancies were rescued and referred to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare for further actions.
Anere who also told this journalist that he gets over 300 phone calls everyday from people trying to make Ocha-Brigade compromise in its enforcement operations, said people know they should not erect structures on water ways, along the roads and other such delicate places but they would flagrantly disobey the law and when such structures are pulled down, they label Ocha-Brigade all manner of names.
Another area he mentioned for enforcements was one Goodness and Mercy Park along Onitsha-Owerri road. According to him, the park is replete with shanties where all manner of illegalities were perpetrated.
He was however of the opinion that no matter the level of opposition and negative propaganda against Ocha-Brigade, the agency won’t and will never bow to the whims and caprices of a disgruntled few who do not want a clean and healthy Anambra State as enshrined in the vision and mission of Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo to bequeath a liveable, lovable and prosperous homeland for all and sundry.

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