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In the aftermath of the incessant kidnappings and other violent crimes going on within Umunneochi axis of Abia State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has announced the restriction of herders and cows to the cattle market in the area.
The latest of such kidnappings in the area, was that of the Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, Dr. Uche Kanu and two other clerics were only released after the church paid a ₦100m ransom.
Their abduction elicited protests by youths of the area who among other things demanded that the cattle market should be relocated as it allegedly serves as haven for all forms of criminal elements.
A release signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Eze Chikamnayo said after meeting with critical stakeholders over the incessant Kidnappings and killings in Umunneochi LGA of Abia State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has directed that ‘all settlers, herders and individuals residing inside the forests around Umunneochi LGA to vacate such locations with immediate effect’.
The release read in part, ‘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 Chairman 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 check points at strategic locations across Umunneochi LGA.
‘Governor Ikpeazu hereby directs that all settlers, herders and individuals residing inside the forests around Umunneochi LGA to 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’.
The governor urged 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.