Men of the 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army have allegedly invaded and beaten up staff of the Bayelsa State Environmental Sanitation Authority ESA at its secretariat in Yenagoa, the state capital.
A statement issued by the executive chairman of the authority, Chief Robert Enogha indicated that the unfortunate incidence took place on Thursday.
According to the statement, trouble started when the authority's task force on revenue enforcement impounded the battery of a low-bed vehicle belonging to a Port Harcourt based company for evading waste disposal/sanitation fees for 2018.
The statement further hinted that the military men numbering about 15 in an Operation Delta Safe hilux vehicle stormed the authority's secretariat in a gestapo posture around 4pm, claiming that the lowbed was conveying a swamp buggy to the 16 Brigade for work.
The statement alleged that before Ochai went to the office of the chairman to discuss the issue, he had ordered his personnel to assault every staff of the authority at sight.
It said the military men who wielded guns and machetes chased and flogged staff of the authority, leaving many of them seriously injured, adding that even passersby were not spared.
The statement reads in parts: "it was on the instructions of Lt. Ochai that the military personnel with their normal weapons as well as machetes started chasing and flogging everyone violently.
"One wonders if machetes are now part of military weaponry in Nigeria. Their operations within a short time inflicted serious injuries on our staff including those who were passersby.
"In an attempt to escape the military assault, some of the staff had to climb the authority's fence and in the process, one of them broke his arm.
"A passerby, Mr. Ebiseighe Ekure was dragged into the authority and thoroughly beaten and his Tecno phone destroyed.
"It is surprising that as partners in the actualization of government policies, the military in Yenagoa will be sabotaging government's revenue drive at a time when states are encouraged to up their internally generated revenue".
The chairman therefore called on the relevant authorities to investigate the officers involved in the assault and make them pay for the damages caused during the unprovoked attack on staff of the authority.
Efforts by TNN to speak to the Spokesperson of Operation Delta Safe, Mr. Abdulahi proved unsuccessful as he was yet to respond to the call and text message put to his telephone line as at the time of filing this report.