Housewife dies in shock over demolition exercise by taskforce

Nosa Akenzua, Asaba

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A middle aged housewife identified as Francisca Mbekwe on Wednesday in the early hours slumped and died around Nnebisi road in Asaba during demolition exercise by taskforce on Asaba beautification.

Eyewitness Nkechi Ohani said the woman suddenly went into shock when she got the news of the taskforce members moving around to demolish makeshifts by the road side including caravans across Asaba and its environs, especially those around Nnebisi and Summit roads adding that before help could come her way, she had given up the ghost.

It was gathered that since the demolition exercise began, there has been palpable tension among residents of Asaba and its environs whose properties have been wilfully destroyed by these tasks force members headed by one Mrs Joan Onyeamachi Mrakpor on daily basis.

Investigation revealed that these taskforce members are allegedly involved in bribe takings as those who cannot meet their demands are subjected to serious beating and their properties seized with their makeshifts destroyed instantly.

Further investigation revealed that the taskforce members collect between N20,000 and N30,000 from any of their victim while those whose properties were seized are subjected to payment of N100,000 without receipts or anything to show they are exonerated from the demolition exercise.

Several victims who spoke to our reporter, one of them Vivain Okechukwu said” they destroyed my makeshift after collecting N20,000 from me and my Property was taking away by the taskforce members who often display wickedness whenever they are carrying out their Operations, these taskforce members are Criminals as they collect money from traders everywhere they visit during their Operations”

Sources said that the late woman had before the demolition of her properties, had allegedly bribed the taskforce members who demanded for N50,000 to ensure she had her properties saved but this was not to be when the taskforce members swooped on her maskeshift and destroyed it including packing her products she put up for sale.

She was said to have got into shock on hearing the news and slumped that eventually led to her death before she was taking to the hospital by her neighbours.

But her husband, Francis Mbekwe who spoke to Journalists in Asaba said” I have instructed my lawyer to take Mrakpor and her team to court, they killed my wife and I will not fold my hands like that and watch the evils going on in my town Asaba, Mrakpor will pay dearly for this and I will fight with all means”

Those in the know said that the state Governor Dr Ifeanyi Okowa is currently losing sleep over several Complaints by residents of Asaba on the reckless activities of Mrakpor and her taskforce members who on daily basis best up those who refused to cooperate with them especially the traders who eke their living through the makeshifts and caravans that are now destroyed by them.

Governor Okowa is said to be considering dissolving the taskforce members who have compelled residents of Asaba on hue and cry basis, especially those petty traders who manage to feed their families and Children

In swift reaction, Mrs Mrakpor denied all allegations against her, saying that she was doing her Job in accordance with the laws which established Asaba Development Committee, adding that those calling for her removal were chasing their shadows as she was not daunted by their hue and cry.

Asaba and its environs have been very dirty before her appointment, especially the lawlessness of most of its residents and traders who often act in nonchalance attitude to dump refuse on the road side including messing up the environment with sanitary pads and used tissue papers.

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