A group known as Abia Freedom Alliance (AFA), an association of concerned Abia technocrats, professionals, businessmen and religious leaders, has demanded immediate stoppage of brutality of security agents against Abia youths.
This is contained in a communique issued by the group after its meeting in Umuahia, the state capital.
The communique jointly signed by the convener, Prince Uzor Nwachukwu, Dr Caleb Ajagba, Chief Joe Ezearu, among others was made available to Vanguard in Umuahia.
It called on the leadership of the Nigerian security agencies, especially the armed forces and police, “to restrain their personnel from acts of brutality and torture unleashed on the youths of Abia State, as they seek to contain various acts of insecurity in the state.”
The group, however, cautioned the youths to be law abiding and refrain from acts that could put them at loggerheads with the security agencies.
It also condemned the abuse of various mind-bending substances, especially Methamphetamine, otherwise known ‘Mkpuru mmiri’ and called on “the narcotic agencies, like the NDLEA and NAFDAC, to unravel the source and suppliers of this destructive hard drug with a view to cutting off the supply and rehabilitating the abusers.”
On the performance of Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu, the group expressed concern over the way workers’ welfare is being handled, and urged the governor to sit up.
It called on Ikpeazu to defray all outstanding salary and pension arrears to ameliorate the plights of workers and pensioners.
“AFA notes with regret and embarrassment the continued non-payment of outstanding salary arrears, pensions and gratuities to serving and retired civil servants, respectively, running into several months and years”, the communique read.
It also decried the deplorable state of infrastructure in the state and urged the governor to rise to the challenge.
On the debate over which senatorial zone that will produce Ikpeazu’s successor in 2023, AFA advocated competence and merit above zoning.
It argued that Abia needed a capable hand with the economic blueprint that would rescue the state from years of maladministration.
”AFA notes the calibre of people who have stepped forward to present themselves as aspiring for the office of the governor of Abia State towards 2023 and having reviewed their antecedents the association does not think they have got the requisite leadership acumen and character to turn things around for Abia, post 2023.
“That the various political gladiators and ethnic blocs masquerading under different zoning arrangements should bury the thought, as the people of Abia are tired of the filth and dilapidations around them and want to rebuild their state and move forward with their neighbours in Anambra State, Ebonyi State, Akwa Ibom State and Rivers State.
“What Abia State needs in 2023 is an individual equipped with the necessary economic, political and social leadership skills, training and intellect to drive the engine of growth and development so as to move the state forward, having stagnated, indeed regressed, for the past 23 years under PDP.
“That AFA finds such quality of candidate in the person of Dr Alex Otti, a consummate first-class economist and accomplished former Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank Plc”.
The group, therefore, urged Otti to contest the 2023 governorship election, assuring him of the people’s massive support.