Soludo in the spotlight over unruly attitude of aides

Chukwuma Soludo, Discipline

*Accused of harassing citizens

Anambra State governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo has come under criticisms following the attitude of some of his aides, whom Anambra citizens say are unruly.

This is coming on the heels of some complaints by the citizens who allege harassment and sometimes physical assault in the course of carrying out the legitimate duties as citizens. According to them, varying degrees of inhuman treatment have been meted on citizens by the governor’s aides with the assistance of security agents attached to them.

Citing the case of BIGLY, a revenue collecting outfit licensed by the government, a respondent recounted how on October 4, some staffers of the outfit who had gone on routine revenue drive were arrested and manhandled by security agents attached to another appointee, Christian Madubuko. According to him, “On October 4, at Anaku in Ayamelum Local Government Area, Christian Madubuko of the AIRS unleashed the OCHA Brigade Boys and security agents on staffers of BIGLY, who were arrested, handcuffed, beaten up, with zero regards.” Meanwhile, yesterday, a viral video surfaced online showing security men attached to Ossy Onuko, he Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Awka Capital Territory Development Authority, allegedly assaulted a commercial bus operator.

Onuko has however apologised over the incident, even as Anambra people have called out the governor to caution his aides and bear in mind that power being exercised on them was transient and emanated from the people.

Onuko stated: “I wish to state clearly the facts as they are, as I owe this to the public we graciously serve. Certainly, I cannot take their sensibility for granted. This afternoon, I had finished my exams from the Igbariam campus of the Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University and was on the way to my office in Awka, driving in the company of two civil defence officers seated in the back seat of my Toyota Hilux vehicle (there was no convoy).

“Suddenly, at the Ukpo axis of the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, I sighted a white coloured GUO vehicle speedily approaching and trying to overtake me, given that the express road is still being used as a two-way drive. He could not meet up with his moves to overtake me and a series of other vehicles in the line, as two heavy-duty trucks were approaching. He suddenly veered into my lane, it would have been a serious disaster and a lot of losses would have been counted if not for divine grace and my swift effort to steer my wheel rightly.

“The said driver sped off without any sign of remorse, this infuriated me and the officers I had in my car. However, we continued with our journey, getting to Amawbia flyover we hoped to stop the driver at the police checkpoint there to ensure he was okay and know the reasons behind his reckless driving because I thought I owed that as a duty to other road users. Unfortunately, in the same vein, he sped off. We knew we could still get him at their office in Awka because they have a park at the UNIZIK junction. However, he stopped not at their park, but at the opposite of Enugu Motor Park.

“The two civil defence officers fully kitted in their uniforms, approached him and asked him to alight from his bus, he locked up himself and his passengers in the bus and even attempted to overrun the officers with his vehicle. At this point, the atmosphere was very heated, I had to call the police and community-based vigilantes within the environment.

“While this was going on, the young man eventually came down and started insulting everyone including the officers with me.

“When I sighted the vigilante group vehicle, I narrated what happened to them, and told them the police were also coming and that the man should be taken to the police station for a proper check as I did not think he was in the right frame of mind to be driving.

“Then, I drove off from the scene as they made moves to take him with them. At this time, about 100 youths that heard I was having altercations at the UNIZIK junction had already assembled. I enjoined them to go about their duties and let the security operatives do their job.

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“A few minutes later in the office, the driver called me and apologised. By then about five other drivers/staff of GUO who are my friends were in my office to also apologise on his behalf.

I immediately told them I needed no apologies and that if not for the actions of the young man, this matter wouldn’t have escalated to the police station. I called the DPO and asked him to bail the young man if they were convinced that he was fit to drive. The DPO released him immediately.

“I also learnt later on that the young man resisted arrest which led to a lot of violent conduct in his arrest. I take full responsibility for all that, and I also apologise to the young man, his company GUO, my friends and well-wishers who have been embarrassed by my association with such an act.”

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