By Chidi Nkwopara
OWERRIâ€”The threat by the consultants locating and destroying landmines and explosives abandoned in the South East and South-South after the Nigerian civil war, to stop work if the Federal Government fails to provide them with funds, has continued to attract angry reactions.
Vanguard investigations revealed that the Humanitarian Demining Consultants had recovered over 3,000 explosive remnants of war (ERW), of various shapes and sizes in Imo, Abia, Rivers, Cross Rivers, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra, Akwa Ibom and Benue States, before issuing the threat.
Speaking to Vanguard in separate interviews, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Senator Nkechi Nwaogu and the member representing Owerri federal constituency, Chief Ernest Ibejiako, were unanimous that stopping the demining exercise midway would spell doom for the citizens of the affected areas.
â€œThe civil war ended close to 40 years ago and it is sad to realize that we still have landmines, explosives and all manner of bombs still littering the landscapes in the whole of the South East,â€ Abaribe said.
He was of the view that the matter is made worse now because even the bombs that have been recovered have not been destroyed, adding that the recovered bombs pose grave danger to the citizens.
â€œThe Ministry of Defence has the duty and responsibility to ensure that these stockpiles of explosives are properly taken care of,â€ Senator Abaribe said.
On his part, Chief Ibejiako promised that he would raise the issue with his colleagues, adding that he would not relent until all the bombs already stockpiled in Owerri municipality were completely destroyed by the professionals.
â€œSo many lives would be lost if the stockpiles in my constituency are allowed to blow out. The only way we can check the impending doom is to make sure that the good work started by the Federal Government is not stalled for whatever reason,â€ Ibejiako said.