By Joe Akwarandu, Umuahia
Abia state government has assured residents of the state of its commitment to protecting lives and property across the state.
The state deputy governor, Ude Oko Chukwu, who gave the assurance during a visit to Abiriba community in Ohafia local government area, said the state government would deploy all necessary resources available to it to ensure the protection of the people and all law-abiding citizens.
Chukwu visited the community following an attack on policemen on duty in the community by hoodlums which led to the death of three officers and palpable fear of possible reprisal by security agents.
Speaking to the people at Orie Akwa square in the community, Chukwu, who was accompanied on the visit by the state commissioner for information, Chief John Okiyi Kalu, and the chairman of Ohafia local government area, Dr Okoroafor Ukiwe, called for community vigilance and support to security agents to ensure that the perpetrators are quickly identified and brought to justice.
He said, “the government is saddened by the unfortunate attack of this morning which led to the loss of lives of police officers at Agu Eze check point and my boss, Governor Ikpeazu on receiving the news asked me to come here and assure you that we will do everything possible to apprehend the perpetrators of the dastardly act and protect Ndi Abiriba and all law-abiding people in the state.
“We call on you to maintain vigilance in order to fish out criminals and hoodlums who may want to come here to attack innocent people as they go about their legitimate businesses.
“Government will give you all the necessary support and we have spoken to the security authorities to avoid indiscriminate arrests but ensure a painstaking investigation that will ensure that only those responsible for the dastardly act are brought to justice as quickly as possible”, he concluded.
The deputy governor, who earlier visited the crime scene and divisional police office in Abiriba, sympathised with the families and friends of the officers who lost their lives in the attacks and prayed God to give them the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. He also visited traditional rulers of the community and assured them of government support to ensure that the perpetrators are brought to book. He advised that a proper community vigilante and information gathering mechanism be put in place to ensure prevention of further crimes.
Responding, the Enachioken-in-Council, which spoke through Eze Eme Uguru Ikpoka, assured that the community will fully cooperate with security agencies to protect the people and prevent the perpetrators from escaping justice. He called on the government to prevail on security agents not to engage in mass arrests but skilfully investigate the matter and assured that the community has dispatched hunters and youths into the surrounding forests to track down the hoodlums.
There had been reports that officers of the Abiriba Division of Nigeria Police Force who arrived Agu Eze Amaogudu, Abiriba, at about 8:30am on Monday were ambushed by hoodlums who killed three of the officers and carted away two riffles from them.