. As Otti vows to end insecurity
Stephen Ukandu, Umuahia
Governor Alex Otti of Abia State, has revealed that over 50 decomposing bodies had been recovered around Lokpanta Regional Cattle Market in Umunneochi Local Government Area.
The Cattle Market located on the Lokpanta junction of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway has been in the news for the wrong reasons for some time.
Addressing newsmen during a media parley on Sunday, Gov. Otti regretted that the cattle market had been turned into a hub of atrocities by unscrupulous elements.
He noted that the same criminal elements using the market as a cover for atrocities were behind the blackmail against the State Government over the alleged quit notice to Northerners.
The Governor explained that at no time was any Northern asked to quit the market, adding that Government only wanted to make the cattle market a day market for security reasons.
He vowed that no amount of blackmail would make his Government to back down on the move to sanitise the market and get it rid of criminals.
Otti who said he was using technology to fight insecurity in the state, vowed that no part of the state would be allowed to serve as a habour for criminals.
“We have installed electronic equipment that tells us what is happening in every part of the state. A few weeks ago, we found that a lot of ransom that was paid for kidnapping ended up somewhere around Umunneochi, and we decided to raid the place. During the raid we made shocking discoveries.
“In less than 48 hours,we recovered over 50 dead bodies around the cattle market in Umunneochi. We recovered over 20 decomposing headless bodies – men, women, children! We recovered so much skeletons of people killed!
“We also discovered that gun running, prostitution and so many things were happening in the market. So, we realised that the first thing to be done is to secure the market. We went in and brought down many brothels, and we felt that the market, just like any other market, should be a day market which starts in the morning and closes in the evening.
“We have started fencing the market even though it will cost a lot of fortunes. We also want to make it a general market not just for cattle alone. There will be sections for provisions, food stuff, electronics and others.
“We also feel that those people hibernating in the market should go and live in the communities. We want to have a peaceful Christmas where our people will come home and have peaceful movement both around Umunneochi and other parts of the state. Anybody not supporting this move must be a criminal, and there is no place for criminals anymore in Abia.”
The Governor said his administration was also making remarkable impacts in infrastructural development.
He explained that new roads would soon be procured by the State Government in addition to the ones already delivered.
The Governor hinted that three designs had already been received on the Umunya/Isuikwuato road, assuring that very soon the contract will be awarded.
He also said that the contract for the rehabilitation of Ohafia/Abam/Okobo/Arochukwu road, had been awarded.
Otti who regretted that previous administrations awarded the same project but failed to execute, promised that very soon, the age-long jinx that ‘no road to Arochukwu is easy’ would be broken.
He added that while the State Government executes the Abam/Okobo/Arochukwu Road, pressure would be mounted on the Federal Government to undertake the Ohafia/Ihechiowa/ Arochukwu federal Road.
Otti said that his judicious management of funds was the reason his administration had recorded some remarkable achievements within a short period of time.
He said that he had plugged the various financial leakages that hitherto existed in the state.
Responding to an inquiry whether his administration had obtained any loan facility, Otti said that he had not borrowed money so far but added that he might consider that “when it becomes necessary.”
“We have a government that understands economy; we have a government that does not believe in frivolous spending; a government that does not share money to stakeholders. If you are not working, you will not eat.
“We have been saving money and cutting cost of governance. The money they have been sharing to stakeholders and e-rats has stopped. We have been saving from our allocations and we have not borrowed.”
He said he would not borrow for consumption but for production.
Otti promised to fix Abia State for the good of all, adding that his administration would not discriminate against residents.