The House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on Security at Umunneochi, Abia State, has commended Governor Alex Otti for the positive steps he has taken to restore security and order in the state.
The Committee particularly praised Governor Otti for dismantling the kidnapping operations and other criminal activities which had festered at the Lokpanta Cattle Market area of Umunneochi, along the Enugu-Umuahia-Aba Expressway.
The Committee led by Hon. Obi Aguocha, Member representing Ikwuano/Umuahia North/South Federal Constituency, rising from its interactive sessions with security agencies, traditional rulers and other stakeholders from Umunneochi, had visited Governor Otti on Saturday to brief him on the outcome of their findings as well as hear from him.
Some of the Committee members, who spoke during the visit, recounted their encounters with those they interacted with during a townhall meeting held in the course of the Committee’s assignment.
Said Hon. Eze Nwachukwu Eze, representing Ebonyi/Ohaukwu Federal Constituency: “Your Excellency, as we approached Lokpanta, we saw a different environment, at which point I asked Godwin (Hon Amobi Godwin Ogah) what is happening here? So much has happened there. He told us that together with himself, that you have taken a decision to do the needful, to sanitise the environment and chase out the hoodlums who are being harboured there.
“A lot of praises for you but at some point we told them, keep those praises, let us have what we can do or tell the National Assembly to get this insecurity behind us.”
Hon. Eze told the Governor that the request from the stakeholders included fencing the market, asking that nobody lives close to the market. “Your Excellency, Much of what they are asking for, you are already doing,” the lawmaker said.
Speaking, Rt. Hon. Kwamoti Bitrus Laori, representing Demsa/Numan/Lamurde Federal Constituency of Adamawa said: “Yes, we were there at the townhall meeting. Like my colleague said, you have really done a lot in respect of security because whoever got up to speak would always commend you for your efforts, even the security personnel there confirmed that. I want to appreciate you specifically for that.”
Responding, Governor Otti welcomed and thanked the federal lawmakers for their encouraging words. He said that criminality knows no tribe or religion and that his Government does not care about resident’s state of origin, so long as you live in Abia, you will be treated as an Abian.
“Our Government knows no Northerner, Southerner, Easterner. We believe that anybody who is a Nigerian should be protected.
“Development can never happen when there is insecurity. We want to develop our place and the best thing to do is to ensure that our people are secured,” the Governor said.
He reiterated his earlier pledge during his meeting with the Northern community that Government would support the vulnerable people among them, who may not have the means to rent houses, but made it clear that Government will not set up a separate community for a particular set or group of people.
According to the Governor, everybody should live together to know what their neighbours are doing.
Part of the strategic moves by the Abia State Government to permanently restore security and order in the area is the conversion of the popular Lokpanta cattle market to a daily and general purpose market, where people can purchase other items like electronics, textile materials and food items other than cattle.
He thanked the lawmakers for their efforts and told them to let the National Assembly know that the State Government had already started doing the needful and is happy that they are coming to complement the efforts of the State.
“We wouldn’t mind any support you can give to us, seeing now that we are also going to spend money fencing the place, remodeling the shops and ensuring that they meet 21st century standards. Also, given the promise that we had made to support the vulnerable part of that market who cannot afford to pay rent, to support them to get places in the villages,” Governor Otti told his visitors.
Members of the Committee are Hon. Obi Aguocha, representing Ikwuano Umuahia North and south federal Constituency and the committee Chairman; Rt. Hon. Kwamoti Bitrus Laori, representing Demsa/Numan/Lamurde Federal Constituency of Adamawa; Rt. Hon. Jonas Okeke, Representing Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo Federal Constituency in Imo State; Hon. Eze Nwachukwu Eze, representing Ebonyi/Ohaukwu Federal Constituency of Ebonyi State; Hon. Amobi Godwin Ogah, representing Isiukwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency of Abia State; Hon. Emeka Nnamani, representing Aba North/South Federal Constituency of Abia State.
Others are: Abdullahi Abba Kabir, Ad-hoc Committee Clerk; and Busaris Adegbola, Ad-hoc Committee Deputy Clerk.