By Izunna Okafor, Onitsha
Prophet Chukwuemeka Ohanemere (popularly known as Prophet Odumeje), who is the Pastor in charge of the Mountain of Holy Ghost Intervention Deliverance Ministry, was, on Thursday, malhandled and beaten up by a group of armed security men during a demolition exercise that affected a portion of his church in Onitsha, Anambra State.
Some amateur videos currently trending on social media show the security personnel, which comprised police, military, local vigilante and others beating and harassing Odumeje, while passers-by crowded to feed their eyes.
These videos, expectedly, have continued to elicit reactions from members of the public who utterly condemn what they described as the “unprofessional act” of the security personnel, whom, they say, went too far, especially a particular local vigilante personnel, who was visibly overzealous and features as the highest assaulter of the man of God in the videos.
Howebeit, the videos do not show what Prophet Odumeje actually did that promoted such ‘public harassment’, only that it is known that one of the buildings and structures marked for demolition in the area belongs to him, which is his church.
That notwithstanding, people who were present there before and during the drama, have finally begun to speak up on what actually happened and why the security men descended on Odumeje in that way.
One of the eyewitnesses who pleaded anonymity said while the demolition exercise was going on, Odumeje daringly drove into the area on a high speed and unintentionally knocked down one of those supervising the exercise.
The eyewitness said: “Firstly, he drove in like a mad man with his white Lexus Jeep while the navy, army, civil defense, ocha brigade, police and taskforce men were shouting on him to stop. He went as far as to even hit down one of the taskforce men. He Jumped out of his car and jumped into the excavator to drag with the excavator driver. These led to the action of the team
“He should thank his God that people like us were there to calm the Navy who insisted they would put him in Black Maria and carry him away.
“He didn’t at all show manner of responsibility.”
Speaking generally on the demolition exercise, the Chief Press Secretary to Governor Chukwuma Soludo, Mr. Christian Aburime said the exercise is not targeted at any particular persons or groups, but is rather in line with the move to recover the master plan of Onitsha and other cities in the state that have been serially abused and turned to slums.
He said: “Following the expiration of the notice served on developers and building owners who built several illegal structures along the waterway in Fegge and environs within Onitsha, since April 2022, more than two months ago, Anambra state government has commenced demolition of such illegal structures.
“The exercise which is being carried out by a joint government task force, commenced from Bida Road by Modebe Avenue, Fegge Onitsha.
“The affected buildings include Mountain of Holy Ghost Intervention Deliverance Ministries, shops and other perimeter fences
“The structures were marked since April, 2022 and all developers and building owners served notice to remove them.
“The government wishes to state that the demolition exercise is not targeted at any particular persons or groups.
“It is rather in line with the move to recover the master plan of Onitsha and other cities in the state that have been serially abused and turned to slums.
“The government assures builders and developers on appropriate sites to go about their normal businesses without fear of molestation.”