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Ikpeazu expresses commitment to tackle problems of kidnapping, other social vices

Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia has expressed the readiness of his administration to tackle the problem of kidnapping and other social vices in Umunneochi Local Government Area (LGA).

[FILES] Okezie Ikpeazu

Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia has expressed the readiness of his administration to tackle the problem of kidnapping and other social vices in Umunneochi Local Government Area (LGA).

Ikpeazu made this known on Friday during a stakeholders’ meeting at the Palace of Eze Godson Ezekwesiri of Umuelem Community, Isuochi, in Umunneochi LGA.

The governor said that the government would work with stakeholders of Umunneochi to evolve strategies for reducing the incidence of kidnapping and other criminal activities in the area to the barest minimum.

He said that the issue of insecurity in Umunneochi and neighbouring areas had become a matter of great concern, that requires urgent action from the government and citizens in addressing the issue.

According to him, the state government has made concerted efforts in the past to ensure adequate security in the area and added that the government would intensify efforts in restoring security in the area.

Ikpeazu said that he would not ”rest on his oars” until the problem is solved and the perpetrators brought to serve as a deterrent to criminal elements.

He said: “This is our place and we would try our best to deal with the matter on the ground with wisdom.

“We must identify the flashpoints where people are most likely to encounter kidnappers in the area.

“I will like to know the institutional knowledge of the youths to help us identify all the inner roads in Umunneochi to facilitate effective policing of the area.

“We will try to see what it will take to open Leru road, which leads from Abia to Enugu as part of the strategy to tackle the problem.

“The work at hand is not an easy one, but I advise that everything that is done concerning this matter is done with wisdom.”

Ikpeazu directed stakeholders of Umunneochi to articulate various flashpoints in the area and added that the ban on open grazing is still in full force in Abia.

In his speech, Rev Biereonwu Onuagha, Archbishop of the Methodist Church Nigeria, Okigwe Archdiocese, regretted that Umunneochi had become a money-making center for kidnappers and other criminals.

Onuagha called on the state government to expedite action in reopening the Ihube-Lomara road.

He called for the immediate relocation of the Lokpanta cattle market which he described as a security threat to the people of Umunneochi.

Onuagha thanked Gov. Ikpeazu for his role in the timely release of the Methodist Prelate who was recently kidnapped along the Leru-Ihube road.

Also, Eze Ernest Onwuka of Aro-Ikpa Autonomous Community, called for the dismantling of various military check points in the area, adding that they are constituting more problems than solutions for the people of Umunneochi.

Onwuka appealed to the state government to come to their rescue as most natives of the area living abroad no longer visit home due to prevailing insecurity in the area.

Earlier, Chief Uzo Egbo, a former Chairman of Umunneochi LGA, said that Umunneochi had common boundaries with all the South East states and this makes the area vulnerable to all sorts of crimes.

Egbo said that over 12 incidences of kidnapping had been recorded along the Leru-Lomara-Nneato road in recent times and called on the government to come to their aid.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Gov. Ikpeazu visited the scene where the Methodist Prelate, Samuel Kanu, and his team were kidnapped on May 29.