Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
The Abia State government has started counting the gains of Operation Crush, a multi-agency security operation launched last month, saying that the “axis of kidnappings” in the state is now safe.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Navy Commander MacDonald Uba (rtd), made this known at a joint media briefing with the state Commissioner for Information and Culture, Prince Okey Kanu, after the State Executive Council meeting.
He told journalists in Umuahia that the kidnapping hot spots — Lokpa, Isuochi, Uturu — have been cleared of criminal elements and made safe for travellers.
Uba said that security agents carried out “sting operation” last Friday at the cattle market at Lokpa during which criminals were smoked out of their hideouts.
The SSA on security said: “We degraded the capacities of the criminals by destroying their abode, including shanties, bunks, where they sell all kinds of drugs.
“We’re sending stern warning to those (criminals) that want to use Abia as their base that there is no room for them.”
The Commissioner for Information and Culture, Kanu, stated that the Alex Otti administration was using a multidimensional approach to fight insecurity.
He said that apart from the Operation Crush strategy, government was also investing in infrastructure because of its knock on effect on reduction of criminality.
According to him, with the needed infrastructure in place, investors would come and job opportunities would be created thereby reducing criminal activities.
“It is a very strategic move that government has taken. It is not a brick and mortar approach,” he said, adding that: “This government is determned to rid this state of all forms of criminality, especially kidnapping”.
Kanu noted that government had been deliberate in its efforts to put an end to the incidents of kidnappings that had been happening at a particular axis – Isuikwuato and Umunneochi Local Governments.
He said that with the concerted efforts of security agencies, the notorious areas have been made safe hence, there has not been any incident of kidnappings reported in recent time.