To curb the incessant killings, raping and abduction for ransom by terrorists in Umunneochi axis of Abia State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State on Friday inaugurated an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the affairs of the Umuchieze Cattle Market, Lokpanta in Umunneochi LGA of Abia State.
Inaugurating the committee in Umuahia, the state capital on behalf of the governor, the State Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, charged members of the committee to ensure that the market was not used by criminal elements as a hiding place from where they will unleash attacks against innocent citizens and visitors.
The Abia chief executive tasked them to ensure that peace and security is enthroned in the market, saying that they should also ensure that a conducive business environment becomes the order of the day in the market.
According to him, in the absence of security and peace, the market will be closed.
He disclosed that Abia has always been home to people from diverse places as they live peacefully with their visitors community, even as he emphasized that the state will not tolerate any ungoverned space within its boundaries.
On the delay in inaugurating the committee, the governor explained that it was due to the need for security agents to properly screen the nominees in order to ensure that none of them was involved in criminal activities.
His word, “As members of this interim market committee, you are expected to help translate our vision of making the state the number one trade and investment destination in the country where visitors and residents coexist peacefully in order to maximally benefit from the enablers provided by the government.
“We are worried about the recent upsurge in criminal activities around the cattle market and in addition to the security measures already put in place. We want to rid the market of criminal elements and also ensure cleanliness of the environment. You must ensure that trading activities happen only between the hours of 8am and 4pm with all cargo carrying vehicles parked inside the market as against the current practice of parking on the highway”.
Ikpeazu further urged the members of the committee to ensure that all traders within the market were issued with identity cards, stressing that they should also streamline the revenue collection to avoid multiple taxation and extortion.
Addressing members of the newly inaugurated committee in her office later, the Commissioner of Police, Abia State Command, CP Janet Agbede, charged them to ensure that peace and tranquility reign within the market environment always.
“We have taken measures to ensure that the area is rid of kidnappers and other criminal elements and you should help us sustain the efforts or be held responsible for any breakdown in law and order”, she warned.
Responding, Chairman of the Committee, Alhaji Buba Abdullahi, thanked Governor Ikpeazu for the opportunity to serve the state and assured that the committee will carry out its task in the best interest of the people.
He also informed the state government of the readiness of the committee to work towards ensuring a harmonious relationship between cattle traders and the host community.
Other members of the committee include: Mr Nwankwo Paul, Vice Chairman, Alh. Baba Ahmed, Secretary, James Obete, Chief Security Officer, Francis Anusi, Financial Secretary.
Others include: Alh. Saleh Algare, Alh. Annyim Umaro, Alh. Amin Muhammed, Prince Auwalu Hamma, Alh. Nwafor Monday and Mr. Ike Ezechinyerem.
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.