Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State late Wednesday declared that his government will use every lawful means to protect and safeguard every inch of the territory of the state from criminal elements and marauders.
He however, assured that he, himself through his administration will not engage in any expansionist mission.
Ikpeazu dropped this hint when he visited Akirika Obu Community in Ukwa East LGA of the state to assess the current situation on the heels of reports that some individuals and criminal elements had invaded the community.
The Abia governor who was in the community with a contingent of the military and the police maintained that his administration will resist any form of expansionist agenda, either by communities from neighboring states or from any outlawed group by whatever name called.
The governor, who received a warm reception by the natives of the border town, assured them that every available space in the community will, henceforth be well policed, saying that the military had come to stay permanently there to ensure their safety and protection.
Ikpeazu explained that he responded to the distress calls from the community on the invasion of their homeland by hoodlums from both a neighboring community in Akwa Ibom State and some criminals. His word, “Akirika Obu Community in Ukwa East LGA is part and parcel of Abia State, and as such, my government will take every lawful step to protect it from any form of unlawful invasion”.
On the lingering boundary dispute between the Akirika Obu Community and their neighbours in Ika Local Government of Akwa Ibom State, the governor stated that the matter is before the National Boundaries Commission, arguing that until a final determination is made, Akirika Obu remains in Abia State.
“Therefore, I’ll do my duty as governor by ensuring that the status quo is maintained, and especially that the lives and properties of the people are safeguarded”. He called on the community to cooperate with the soldiers during their stay and allow them to carry out their primary assignment there.
He warned against using the soldiers for the resolution of civil disputes amongst them, and assured that his administration will continue to provide logistics support to the soldiers to ensure that they have minimum comfort in the area.
Earlier, the Chairman of Ukwa East LGA, Hon. Chuks Wabara, while welcoming the governor, expressed delight at the visit of the governor, noting that this was the very first time a sitting governor was visiting the area.
The chairman expressed confidence that the visit of the governor will put an end to all forms of crisis of insecurity in that area and assured that the people and the local government administration will cooperate with the military men posted to their area.
The member representing Ukwa East State Constituency at the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Paul Taribo expressed his joy on the effort by the governor to restore sanity in Akirika Obu and tasked the villagers to build on the governor’s good intention.
Uche Nwosu is a two time Shell Petroleum PLC award winner in the year 2000;
He won the Shell Award on Investigative Journalism and Environmental Cleanliness.