Following the abduction and release of the Prelate of the Methodist Church, Samuel Kanu Uche, at Umunneochi council area of Abia state, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has ordered herders and other people residing in the forest in the area to vacate.
The Governor also directed that cows and herders around operating in the area are restricted to the Cattle Market at Umuchieze until a final decision is reached concerning the menace in the Cattle Market.
Commissioner for Information, Mr. Eze Chikamnayo, who stated this in a statement disclosed that the Commissioner of Police in the state, Mrs Janet Agbede, has been mandated to draw up logistic requirements for mounting six additional check points at strategic locations across Umunneochi council area.
“Governor Okezie Ikpeazu hereby directs that all settlers, herders and individuals residing inside the forests around Umunneochi LGA to vacate such locations with immediate effect. Government can no longer guarantee the safety of any person or group found to be residing in the forests around Umunneochi LGA.
“That the Commissioner of Police, Abia State alongside with Umunneochi Youths, provide immediate Security along the Ihube to Isuochi Road stretching from Ngodo through Lomara Junction all the Way to Ihube.
“Upon the implementation of the above directive, The Governor directs the Chairman of Umunneochi LGA, Chief Ifeanyi Madu to open the Road leading from Ihube through Lomara Junction to Ngodo Isuochi immediately.”
He further directed the leadership of the Youths of Umunneochi council area, vigilante groups, hunters and the Hausa Community to continue to meet with him until an amicable solution is found to the incessant cases of insecurity in the area.
The Governor, however, urged all parties to show restraint in their utterances and actions in order to maintain peace and promote peaceful coexistence of all law abiding citizens.
The Prelate of the Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr Samuel Uche; the Methodist Bishop of Owerri, Rt Rev Okechukwu Michael and the Prelate’s Chaplain were released within 24 hours after their kidnap by unknown gunmen suspected to be herdsmen along the Lokpa axis of the Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway.
Ikpeazu attributed their quick release to “the grace of God, the fervent prayers of the Christian community and the well coordinated response from security agencies in Abia State.”
Governor Ikpeazu who said he had spoken with the Prelate, disclosed that “he is in high spirits.”