By Emma Amaize
WARRI â€” Okerenkoko community leader in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State, Chief Michael Johnny, yesterday, said he was the one that sacked construction workers of Accelerated Building Technologies, ABT, engaged in the re-building of the community.
ABT workers were, Sunday,Â reported to have been kidnapped by suspected militants and taken to an unknown destination. But Chief Johnny called Vanguard, yesterday, to say he personally went to the site to stop work on the project.
â€œI did not kidnap the workers. I asked them to leave the community. It is my community and I provided boats to evacuate them to Warri,â€ he said.
The State Security Service, SSS, is already investigating the incident while an official of the company, who was asked about the safety of the workers yesterday, said he had no update.
Also, the executive of Okerenkoko Federated Community, led by Apostle Census Oluba, has stepped into the matter.
Meanwhile, Chief Johnny told Vanguard:Â â€œAs I speak to you now, you can find out, the workers have returned to Warri. None of them is missing.
â€œSo many people, including the State Security Service, SSS, called me over the incident on Sunday, alleging that I kidnapped workers. I told them I did not kidnap anyone, that I only stopped them from working and asked them to leave my community.â€
On why he took the action, Chief Johnny said â€œI am not a militant. I am a businessman and I built my houses from my own labour. Now, the government awarded a contract for the reconstruction of the houses destroyed by the JTF.
â€œAn ex-militant leader (names withheld) is doing the contract. His brother has rebuilt his own house in the community that was destroyed. They are rebuilding other houses that were destroyed but my own is not part of it. Why?â€
â€œAs I said before, I personally went to the community, called the sectional heads of the workers and virtually all the workers together, I addressed them, I told them my mission, I am here to stop the work, I asked them to submit the keys of the bulldozers swamp buggy and other equipment they were working with to me.
â€œI even gave them drinks and told the operators to go back to Warri. Some of the workers volunteered on their own that they want to go home and see their families and I had to charter additional boat to evacuate them, only for me to receive calls later that I kidnapped the workers, I am not a kidnapper, and I am a peace ambassador.â€
The Director of the State Security Service (SSS) in the state told Vanguard when contacted on phone yesterday that the security agency was investigating the incident and declined further comments.