By Ugochukwu Alaribe
Indigenes of the Uturu community in Isuikwuato council area of Abia State, have barricaded the Okigwe – Uturu – Isuikwuato road, protesting the high rate of kidnapping of students and motorists in the area.
The protest which began along Uturu road close to Marist Brothers Secondary School, saw protesters calling on the Imo and Abia state governments to take urgent actions to curb the kidnapping and killings of their people.
One of the protesters told Vanguard that many natives of Uturu community and students of the Abia State University,(ABSU), Uturu, have been abducted and made to pay ransom while others lost their lives to the hoodlums.
The protesters lamented that the situation is affecting the economy of their community and called for the security agencies to redouble efforts to end the menace.
They said; “The road has become a source of terror for motorists and passengers who are mostly students. Many people including indigenes of Uturu community have been kidnapped and ransom paid while others lost their lives. There are more than six security checkpoints are along the road,but people are still being kidnapped. The Imo state government and their Abia counterpart must urgently take action to end kidnapping and killing of people on Okigwe – Uturu- Isuikwuato road. We are no longer safe. Many people have been Killed.No day at passes without these hoodlums kidnapping motorists who are mostly students.”
A few days ago, a motorist was shot dead while some passengers suspected to be students of the ABSU were abducted.
Meanwhile, the Abia state government in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Mr.Eze Chikamnayo, said it is committed to ending kidnapping in the area.
The Commissioner disclosed that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is saddened by the situation and would leave no stone unturned to ensure normalcy is returned on the Okigwe- Uturu – Isuikwuato road.
He said; “Government has been informed of the incident of senseless kidnapping and unfortunate death of innocent citizens especially students around the ABSU – Uturu – Okigwe axis and Umunneochi – Ihube area occasioned by the criminal activities of terrorists.
“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu is a very proactive, security-conscious leader who over the years has proven through visible results that the safety and welfare of all Abians and Nigerians is his topmost priority.
“We, as a Government, are saddened by this ugly development around our boundaries with Imo State and are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that normalcy is quickly restored.
“However, we may not for operational reasons be able to go into further details at this time so as to safeguard the processes already put in place by our hardworking security agencies and government authorities.
“The government assures residents of the state of its commitment to ending the menace of kidnapping in the area.”