Disclosure News

Factual Reportage

****Extort cash ranging between N130,000 to N300,000 without receipt

By Chukwudi Ebele

Alarm has been raised concerning the recent strings of incidents where masked armed men in collaboration with Environmental Health workers barge into schools within Ogidi, Nkpor, Enekwasumpu Obosi communities in Idemili North Local Government Area(INLGA) to abduct teachers under the guise of enforcing fumigation levy for the Anambra State Government.

According to the excerpts from ‘Kulele Zone phone-in Wazobia FM radio programme anchored by a radio presenter, Akwugo Toochi’ our reporter gathered that those abducted teachers, principals or proprietors after being subjected to inhuman treatment and humiliation were further required to bail themselves with the cash sum of 300,000 to 350,000 naira.

The radio presenter brought up the issue for discussion because of the insecurity concerns facing different parts of the country saying that it could be another form of kidnapping because she was not aware of Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State setting up any taskforce on fumigation for schools particularly at INLGA.

“Even if for any reason the State Government sent the taskforce with the Health workers, why should they cover there face, use brute force and storm school premises where minors and children are learning to terrorize them.

“Armed men should not be seen brandishing their rifles inside the school premises. It brings fear and panic which is traumatizing and dangerous to the mental health of the children.

An eyewitness who participated in the radio program via phone said that she saw when the team of masked armed men stormed St Joseph Catholic school,Enekwasumpu.

According to her, the St Joseph Catholic School security guard tried to resist them but they overpowered him hitting him with the butt of the rifle and tied him. The masked men went further to arrest and force the teachers into the security van which left children scampering for safety, even those of us at the street took cover because of the fierce looking masked operatives. It was later we learnt that they came with health workers from Idemili North Health Authority to demand for fumigation Levy”.

Another participant who phoned in said that the same group came to another school at Ogidi where her neighbor’s children were schooling to abduct their teachers which made her neighbor withold her children from going to school till further notice with the fear that if they could not see a teacher to arrest, they might start arresting school children for bail or ransome.

Another victim(name witheld) who spoke to the our reporter anonymously also alleged that the same daredevil group came to their school at Ogidi in company of INLGA Environmental Health workers to whisk away virtually all the teachers within the school premises without any official notice or demands living the pupils without their teachers and caregivers.

She said that the Health workers further extorted the cash sum of over 100,000 naira from the school proprietor without receipt or State Government’s remital account number after much humiliation in the hands of suspected vigilante operatives working for the Environmental health workers.

“As soon as I opened the gate a team of armed men on mask with a Vigilante vehicle, suspected to be special force a.k.a Ebubeagu started harassing us saying they were sent by the INLGA Environmental health to come and arrest all the teachers present in my school.

“I asked them what offence did we commit to warrant such humiliation. They said that I locked the gate against them.
“They forcefully pushed every staff of my school into the security van leaving the school children scampering for safety without any caregiver.

“They did not allow allow us to make any calls. It was when there vehicle could not contain all my staff that they reluctantly allowed two of our staff to stay behind in the school.

“Getting to the INLGA Health Authority adjacent to the INLGA secretariat, Ogidi. All our teachers were forced to remove our shoes and sit on the bare floor like common criminals”.

“After hours of detention with the safety of the nursery and primary school children hanging in the balance, our school proprietor came to bail us from one Madam Ebere, who said she was the Chief Taskforce of the INLGA Environmental Health after much negotiations from about #350,000, she accepted to collect #130,000 which was the last money in the proprietor ‘s account. We requested for receipt or account number for remittal but they insisted we withdrew cash from POS to bail ourselves” she said.

Meanwhile, she said that while they were still in detention at the Environmental Health Authority,Ogidi another group of teachers from another school from Obosi were also arrested and brought in by the same team of masked AVS in collaboration with the health workers and were also subjected to the same inhuman treatment they passed through.

“Our school is Government approved. We are law abiding and we pay all revenues and ensure we contribute our quota or tax payment because we support the good works of our Solution Governor, Prof Charles Soludo.”

“Even, if they made any other requests for payment and issued us demand notice,we would have looked into that through our association to know the ones to pay in order to checkmate exploitation or multiple taxation and gotten back to them amicably but there was nothing like demand notice for anything only to use brute force to dehumanize and exploit unsuspecting citizens,”she said.

However, our reporter contacted the Director, Environmental Health Department,INLGA, Mrs Beatrice Anene several times on phone to get her reaction but she made light of it, refused to make any serious statement after acknowledging that she was very much aware of the terrible incident of intimidation, manhandling and extortion involving her office and staff.

According to Mrs Anene, Yes I am aware of the incident involving my staff and some schools. Ask the school what they did. I will send you the phone number of the person you will call to get any response you want”.

Moreover, when our reporter contacted the person, he refused making any comments but rather frowned at the fact that the Director of Environmental Health gave out his phone number without informing him and switched off his phone.

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