Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, revealed that security intelligence has uncovered a disturbing pattern in the drop-off location of ransoms paid for kidnapped victims.
According to Otti, investigations using electronic equipment installed across the state revealed that these ransoms were consistently left near the Umuchieze Cattle Market in Lokpanta, Umunneochi Local Government Area.
Addressing the media at the monthly Government House briefing in Umuahia, Otti disclosed that upon focusing their efforts on this area, they made a horrifying discovery. Within 48 hours, law enforcement recovered over 80 lifeless bodies and 20 headless corpses, both adults and children, along with countless skeletal remains of victims left to decompose.
Governor Otti emphasized the state government’s determination to eradicate all forms of crime, asserting that no government can prosper amidst rampant insecurity. He assured that the government would neither tolerate nor support any form of insecurity. Investigations into various crimes, including gun running, prostitution, narcotics trade, and substance abuse, indicated that these activities were prevalent within the cattle market.
To address the issue, the state government decided to transform the cattle market into a general market. The market has been fenced, and a directive has been issued to operate as a non-residential daily market, open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. It will no longer exclusively sell cattle; instead, other items will be available for purchase.
Governor Otti clarified that the decision was not aimed at expelling the Hausa community residing in Abia. The misunderstanding led to false information spreading, prompting a northern group to issue a quit notice to Igbo residents in the North.
However, after a meeting where the government explained its intentions, the group reconsidered its stance, understanding the necessity of the government’s actions in ensuring the safety and security of the state’s residents.