*Ask security agencies to prioritize the security of locals
By Levinus Nwabughiogu— Abuja
The House of Representatives, on Tuesday, told the Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu that criminals, killer herdsmen and bandits have taken over all roads leading to Isuikwuato and Umunneochi Local Government Areas of Abia State.
The House said that the criminals were maiming, robbing, kidnapping, raping and killing the people and other travellers, warning that unless urgent steps were taken, the situation may degenerate to chaos and lawlessness.
The call followed a motion considered by the House on Tuesday plenary.
Moving the motion titled “Need to Address the Worsening Security Situation in Isuikwuato/Umunneochi Federal Constituency, Abia State”, the Sponsor and deputy chief whip of the House, Hon. Nkiru Onyejiocha who also represents Isuikwuato/Umunneochi federal constituency in the parliament informed the House that a former transition Chairman was attacked in the area.
She said: “There is an increasingly disturbing security situation in and around Isuikwuato and Umunneochi Local Government Areas of Abia State which, unless urgent steps are taken, may degenerate to chaos and lawlessness.
“Virtually all roads that lead to the Areas have been taken over by criminals, killer herdsmen and bandits who lay siege on the people of the local government areas, maiming, robbing, kidnapping, raping and killing the people and travellers.
“There has not been a single day in the last five months that there were no reported cases of abductions, robberies, theft or some form of criminality in and around the two local government areas and those criminal elements are so audacious that they operate in broad daylight and night time, mostly without any interference from Security operatives.
“Victims of those murderous gangs range from poor peasant farmers, old and young people, travellers, traditional and political leaders, among others and a case in point is that of one Mr Obiajulu Okafor who was kidnapped, together with his wife and driver, on 2 January 2021, which forced his family to pay a ransom of twenty–two Million Naira (N22m) to secure their release.
“On 6 October 2020, in two separate incidents, the Chairman (Transition Committee) of Isuikwuato Local Government Area and the member representing Isuikwuato Local Government Area in Abia State House of Assembly, were attacked on the same road and while the House Member was lucky to have escaped unharmed (with a bullet-ridden vehicle), the Transition Committee Chairman paid a ransom to regain his freedom from the kidnappers.
“The people of Isuikwuato and Ummunneochi can no longer go to their farms or engage in other means of gaining a livelihood for fear of being abducted, raped or killed by herdsmen and criminals who have taken over their farmlands and roadways;
“Unless urgent and drastic measures are taken to halt the tide and combat those criminal elements terrorizing the constituency, calamity may befall the areas as the people may tend to take the laws into their hands, which may lead to a state of anarchy”.
Adopting the motion, the House urged the IGP to prioritize the security of those local government areas and arrest the criminals terrorizing the constituency.
It also urged the various security agencies to collaborate for the purpose of ensuring a safe and conducive environment in the constituency while mandating its Committee on Police Affairs to ensure compliance.