Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia
The Abia State Government has lauded the gains made by Operation Crush, a multi-agency security operation launched last month, to fight crimes in the state, saying the ‘axis of kidnappings’ in the state is now safe.
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Navy Commander MacDonald Uba (rtd), disclosed this at a joint media briefing with the state Commissioner for Information and Culture, Prince Okey Kanu, after the State Executive Council (SEC) meeting.
He told journalists in Umuahia that the kidnapping hot spots, Lokpa, Isuochi, and Uturu, have been cleared of criminal elements and made safe for travellers.
Uba said security agents carried out a ‘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 a stern warning to those (criminals) that want to use Abia State as their base that there is no room for them.”
The Commissioner for Information and Culture, Kanu, stated that Governor Alex Otti administration was using a multidimensional approach to fight insecurity.
He stated that apart from the Operation Crush strategy, the government was also investing in infrastructure because of its knock-on effect to reduce 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 the government has taken. It is not a brick-and-mortar approach. This government is determined to rid this state of all forms of criminality, especially kidnapping.”
Kanu noted that the government had been deliberate in its efforts to put an end to the incidents of kidnapping that had been happening at a particular axis of Isuikwuato and Umunneochi Local Government Areas.
He said with the concerted efforts of security agencies, the notorious areas have been made safe, hence, there has not been any incident of kidnappings reported recently.