Abia Moves to Restore Security at Cattle Market

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia

The Governor of Abia State, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, has taken measures to ensure that the Umuchieze Cattle Market in the state would no longer serve as hideouts for kidnappers and other criminal elements terrorising Umunneochi and Isuikwuato axis.

The cattle market located at Lokpanta in Umunneochi Local Government Areas has always been linked with the spate of kidnappings that occur in the Umunneochi/Isuikwuato axis, including the high profile abduction of the Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Kanu-Uche.

Consequently, Ikpeazu at the weekend inaugurated an Interim Management Committee (IMC) to oversee the affairs of the cattle market and gave the members a marching order to ensure peace and security at the area or risk closure of the market.

The governor, who was represented by the state Commissioner for Trade and Investment, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, charged the IMC to put appropriate measures in place to ensure that the market was not used by criminal elements as a hiding place to engage in nefarious activities.

He said: “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.”

Ikpeazu directed that trading activities should commence and close daily between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. while all cargo carrying vehicles must be parked inside the market as against the current practice of parking on the expressway.

He noted that Abia State has always been home to people from diverse places living peacefully with the people of the state, adding that the state will not tolerate any lawless space within its boundaries.

The governor explained that the delay

in inaugurating the committee was due to the need for security agents to properly screen the nominated members of the committee in order to ensure that none of them was involved in criminal activities.

He said the IMC members were “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.”

As part of security measures, the governor further directed the committee to ensure that all traders within the market are issued with identity cards and revenue collection streamlined to avoid multiple taxation and extortion.

Also,  the Chairman of the Committee, Alhaji Buba Abdullahi, expressed gratitude to the governor for appointing them to serve the state, assuring him that the committee will carry out its task with diligence and sense of patriotism.

 The IMC members were later introduced to the state Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Janet Agbede, who received them in her office, and charged them to work for peace and harmony in the cattle market and its environs.

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