Abia State Governor, Alex Otti has said that his government recovered about 80 corpses and 20 headless bodies at Umuchieze Cattle Market in the Umunneochi Local Government Area of the state within 48 hours.
Otti revealed this during the monthly media parley at the Government House, Umuahia, during which he reinstated his government’s commitment to end all forms of criminality in the state.
The governor stated that the government’s commitment to combating insecurity was steadfast, adding that the government was trying to guarantee that the people of Abia celebrated the Yuletide in peace.
He stated that the government will neither condone nor participate in any way in fostering instability.
According to Otti, security information revealed that ransom payments for kidnapped victims were always dropped near Umuchieze Cattle Market in Lokpanta.
The Governor has this to say : “We installed electronic equipment to find out what is happening in every part of the state.
“A few weeks ago, we found that a lot of the ransom that was paid for kidnapping ended up somewhere around Umunneochi LGA.
“We decided to dominate the place and what we saw was shocking.
“In less than 48 hours, we recovered over 80 dead bodies around the cattle market, and we recovered 20 headless bodies decomposing bodies which include adults and children.
“We recovered uncountable skeletons of people who had been killed and left to decompose still around that axis.”
Otti further stated that several sorts of crime, including gun-running, prostitution, drug sale, and heavy substance use, were prevalent in the cattle market.
He stated that inquiries into the perpetrators of the act were still ongoing.
Otti stated that this influenced the state government’s decision to convert the livestock market into a general market.
He said the state government had taken steps to secure the market by fencing it. The governor issued a directive for it to be a non-residential daily market open from 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Otti stated that, in accordance with government orders, the market would no longer be solely for the sale of cattle, but would instead function as a general market where other things would be on sale.
The governor continued: “Now some persons said that we had sent away the Hausa community living in Abia, but remember when we saw the skeletons, we did not know which skeletons belonged to either Hausa or Yoruba.
“The spread of the false information led to a northern group issuing a quit notice to Igbo living in the North to leave and come back to East.”
The governor indicated that a discussion with the organisation was held during which the government’s intentions were clarified.
“We challenged them that anybody that is not in support of what we are doing must be a criminal, then they saw reason with us and reversed themselves,” he added.
Otti stated that the state administration was eager to maintain peace and stability in order to encourage Abians to travel freely throughout the state, particularly during the Yuletide season.
“I can assure you that Umunneochi is calm,” he added.