The governor added that the govt would neither condone nor get involved in supporting insecurity in any form or manner.
Gov Alex Otti of Abia has expressed the resolve of the state government to rid Abia of all forms of crime, because “no government succeeds in the face of insecurity”.
Otti said this during the monthly Media Parley organised by the government at the Government House, Umuahia. The governor said that the dedication of the government to tackle insecurity remained unwavering, adding that it was working to ensure that the people of Abia celebrated the Yuletide in peace.
He said that government would neither condone nor get involved in supporting insecurity in any form or manner. Otti said security intelligence showed that the ransom being paid for kidnapped victims were always dropped off around the Umuchieze Cattle Market in Lokpanta of Umunneochi Local Government Area (LGA).
“We installed electronic equipment to find out what is happening in every part of the state.
“A few weeks ago, we found that a lot of the ransome that was paid for kidnapping ended up somewhere around Umunneochi LGA.
“We decided to dominate the place and what we saw was shocking.
“In less than 48 hours, we recovered over 80 dead bodies around the cattle market, and we recovered 20 headless bodies decomposing bodies which include adults and children.
“We recovered uncountable skeletons of people who had been killed and left to decompose still around that axis,” he said.
Otti also said that different forms of crime such as gun running, prostitution, narcotics trade and heavy use of substance were highly operational in the cattle market. He said that investigations were still ongoing to ascertain the people involved in the crime.
Otti said that this informed the decision of the state government to change the cattle market into a general market.
He said that the state government had taken a step to secure the market by fencing it and issuing a directive for the market to be a non-residential daily market, which would open from 6:00 am through 6:00 pm.
Otti said in line with government’s directives, the market would no longer be exclusively for the sale of cattle, but it would operate as a general market where other items would be sold.
“Now some persons said that we had sent away the Hausa community living in Abia, but remember when we saw the skeletons, we did not know which skeletons belonged to either Hausa or Yoruba.
‘The spread of the false information led to a norther group issuing a quit notice to Igbo living in the North to leave and come back to East.
The governor explained that a meeting was held with the group, during which explanations were given about government’s intention.
“We challenged them that anybody that is not in support of what we are doing must be a criminal, then they saw reason with us and reversed themselves,” he added.
Otti said that the state government was desirous to maintain peace and stability to encourage the people of Abia to move about in the state, especially during the Yuletide without any fear of harassments.
“I can assure you that Umunneochi is calm,” he added.
Otti restated the government’s commitment to rebuild the state and give it a new look through massive industrial reforms and infrastructure development.