Umuahia – ABIA state government saysÂ it has formally written to the federal government to plead that Osissioma depot, closed for some years now, be reopened for business.
The government argued that the reopening of the depot would go a long way to assist in the fight against crime and criminals, especially, kidnapping in the state.
It was the thinking of Abia government that the closure of the depot contributed to the upsurge of crimes, especially kidnapping, noting that Osisisoma remained one of the areas where kidnapping and other crimes were on the increase.
The government noted that before the closure, there were no prevalent incidences of crimes in the area, as the youths were engaged in useful activities in and around the depot which helped them to take care of themselves.
The state Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism, Mr. John Nwokocha, who disclosed this, said the letter was written by his counterpart in Petroleum Ministry and that it was addressed to the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Alhaji Rilwan Lukeman.
According to Nwokocha, the closure of the depot rendered the youths from the area jobless, some of who may have resorted to criminal activities.
Nwokocha saidÂ the government was pledging to guarantee the security of the pipelines, which vandalization led to the closure of the depot in the first place.
â€œThe Commissioner for Petroleum Resources has written officially to Petroleum Minister to reopen the Osisioma depot shut down for a long time.
â€œHigh crime rate in the area was traced to the shutting of the depot. The closure rendered the youths idle. Government considers that reopening of the depot will help to checkmate crime in the area.
â€œAbia State government is promising to check pipeline vandalization. We will beef up security around the area and ensure that the pipelines are secured.
â€œOnce we are given notice to that effect, the depot will be reopened, the government will beef up security around the areaâ€, Nwokocha said.
The commissioner also disclosed that the government has noted with sadness the emergence of touts in the state, especially Umuahia metropolis and Aba, addingÂ that government would soon set up a task force to tackle the issue.