• To employ 1,700 forest guards
•Police confirm kidnap of Enugu traditional ruler, wife
Christopher Isiguzo and Gideon Arinze in Enugu
The administration of Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State yesterday rose from a crucial meeting with Vigilante/Nieghbourhood Watch groups in the 17 local government areas (LGAs) of the state and took decisive decisions towards strengthening the security of the state.
This is coming as the state police command has confirmed the abduction of the traditional ruler of Obom-Agbogugu in Awgu Local Government Area of the state, Igwe Sunday Orji, and his wife by unidentified gunmen.
A statement by the Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Simon Ortuanya, shortly after the meeting, stated that the state government upon reviewing the security situation in the state, resolved to send an Anti-kidnapping Bill to the state assembly as an Executive Bill, to ensure maximum security.
According the statement, the state government also resolved to immediately overhaul the Vigilante/ Neighbourhood Watch structure in the state for optimised service delivery, adding that the Enugu State Neigbourhood Watch Law 2016 will equally be reviewed.
Ugwuanyi’s administration further resolved to employ 1,700 Forest Guards within 30 days, comprising 100 persons per LGA, in compliance with the recent decision of the South East Governors Forum on Community Policing.
It informed interested applicants with passion for service to submit their application at the office of the Security Chief of the Department of State Services (DSS) in their respective local government areas of origin for necessary action.
The state government also approved the payment of stipends to 5,200 Vigilante/Neighbourhood Watch personnel comprising 20 persons per ward in the state, reassuring its commitment to the peace and security of lives and property.
Meanwhile, the state police command has confirmed the abduction of the traditional ruler of Obom-Agbogugu in Awgu Local Government Area of the state, Igwe Sunday Orji, and his wife by unidentified gunmen.
Igwe Orji was reportedly kidnapped with his wife around Ogbaku area before Agbogwugwu junction on Enugu-Port-Harcourt expressway while they were returning from a Thanksgiving Mass organised by the Bishop of Awgu Catholic Diocese, Most Rev. Ifeanyi Okoye, for his aged mother, Ezinne Ekedimma Okoye, held at St. John Pro-Cathedral Church in Owelli Awgu last Sunday around 5 p.m.
The state Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, had also attended the thanksgiving service with top officials of his government.
Orji’s abduction comes barely 72 hours after a Catholic priest, Reverend Father Paul Offu, was murdered by yet-to-be-identified gunmen on Ihe-Agbudu road.
Confirming the incident to journalists, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Ebere Amaraizu, described the kidnapping of the monarch and wife as unfortunate.
He, however, said the police had swung into action to rescue the traditional ruler when they got the information about his kidnap.
According to him, “A squad of policemen is already in the bush trailing Igwe’s abductors. I can assure you that our men are on top of the situation, and Igwe and his wife would soon be rescued unhurt.”
The kidnappers have reportedly contacted the Igwe’s family demanding N50 million ransom for their release.
Meanwhile, the Enugu-Okigwe-Umuahia-Port-Harcourt expressway has become a nightmare for travellers as suspected herdsmen have continued to unleash mayhem on the road.
Sources disclosed that former Commissioner for Information of Abia State, Eze Chikamnayo, escaped death by whiskers last Sunday as he was attacked by the rampaging herdsmen on his way to Enugu from Isochi in Umunneochi council area.
“The herdsmen with guns virtually took over the expressway firing from all angles. The vehicle of the former commissioner was riddled with bullets, as he merely survived by the grace of God. The road is no longer safe for anybody,” the source said.