Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has directed all herders, settlers and those residing inside the forests around Umunneochi Local Council Area to vacate those places immediately.
This directive was contained in a statement issued by the State Information Commissioner, Eze Chikamnayo, stating that the directive was consequent upon the fact-finding visit of the governor to the scenes of incessant kidnappings and killings in the Umunneochi area of the state and interactive sessions he had been having with Umunneochi leaders, stakeholders and security agencies.
The governor also directed the state police commissioner and Umunneochi youths to provide security along Ihube to Isuochi Road, stretching from Ngodo through Lomara junction all the way to Ihube.
It would be recalled that the Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, Samuel Uche, was kidnapped alongside the Bishop of Owerri Diocese and the Prelate’s chaplain on Ihube-Leru-Isuochi Road in Umunneochi LGA.
The victims were released after payment of a ransom of N100 million.
The statement read, “Arising from the extensive interactive sessions which His Excellency Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu has been having with Umunneochi Leaders, Stakeholders and Security Agencies, he hereby directs as follows:
“That the Commissioner of Police Abia State alongside with Umunneochi Youths provide immediate security along the Ihube to Isuochi Road, stretching from Ngodo through Lomara Junction all the way to Ihube.
“Upon the implementation of the above directive, the Governor directs the Chairmen of Umunneochi LGA, Chief Ifeanyi Madu to open the road leading from Ihube through Lomara Junction to Ngodo Isuochi immediately.
“The Commissioner of Police, Abia State has been mandated to draw up logistic requirements for mounting six additional checkpoints at strategic locations across Umunneochi LGA.
“Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu hereby directs that all settlers, herders and individuals residing inside the forests around Umunneochi LGA vacate such locations with immediate effect. Government can no longer guarantee the safety of any person or group found to be residing in the forests around Umunneochi LGA.
“All cows and herders around Umunneochi LGA are hereby restricted strictly to the Cattle Market located at Umuchieze until a final decision is reached concerning the menace in the Cattle Market
“The Leadership of the Youths of Umunneochi LGA Vigilante Groups, Hunters and the Hausa Community will continue to meet with the Governor until an amicable solution is found to the incessant cases of Insecurity in the Area.
“His Excellency, Governor Okezie Victor Ikpeazu urges all parties to show restraint and circumspection in their utterances and actions in order to maintain the peace and promote peaceful coexistence of all law-abiding citizens.”