Demolish kidnappers’ hideout, Abia community begs governor

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Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia

Residents of Umuagogu village in Ovungwu autonomous community in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government Area, Abia State, have called on the state government to move in and demolish a building suspected to be a hideout for kidnappers in the area.

A local, who preferred to remain anonymous, told Southern City News that the uncompleted building belonging to one late Monday Nwadibia was used by the deceased and his gang members to keep a kidnapped victim hostage sometime in July 2017.

The source said Nwadibia and other suspects involved in the crime later engaged in gun battle with police detectives from Omoba Police Station, who swooped in on them.

He added that during the gun duel, the landlord (Nwadibia) was shot dead together with one member of his gang, but two members of the gang escaped with bullet wound, while the victim was rescued unhurt by the police.

The source, however, lamented that the building, which was used for the operation was still standing.

He said other hoodlums in the area were suspected to be gathering in the building for unscrupulous activities and appealed to the state government to move in and demolish the hideout without further delay.

The traditional ruler of the community His Royal Highness, Eze Nelson Nwachukwu has confirmed the development.

The monarch said, “I know the building in question, but I’m not the one to demolish it. The incident happened on July 19, 2017. I was in my house that day and suddenly we started hearing gunshots at Umuagogu as if a war was going on in that village.

“It didn’t take long before some police officers came to my palace and told me that the DPO was shot while exchanging fire with the criminals. So, I went out with them and we rushed the DPO to the hospital, while some police officers continued with the battle until they rescued the victim and shot some of the suspects.

“We continued monitoring the village until the Area Command sent another DPO to man the division until peace returned to the village.

“I heard that Governor Okezie Ikpeazu said in a radio station located in Aba that he would reward the whistleblower and policemen that carried out the operation as well as demolish the building used for kidnapping.

“But the building is still standing and no reward has been given to anybody, instead the rumour making the rounds in the village is that I collected the reward the governor promised secretly.

“But I’m saying it openly that I did not collect any money from the governor as a reward for success of the operation. I challenge anybody to ask the governor if he gave me any money as a reward for the incident.”

He urged the governor to reward those who rescued the kidnapped victim and also encourage them to keep fighting crimes in the state.

“The governor should also check if other people, who didn’t do the job, came to him and collected the reward. But if not, let him look for the right people that fought the war and reward them,” he added.

The Divisional Police Officer in charge of Omoba Police Station, Mr. Ali Gowon, confirmed the incident and maintained that although he was not the one in charge when the incident happened, the area had remained peaceful since November 2017 when he was posted to the division.

The State Commissioner for Information, Mr. John Kalu, expressed the state government’s commitment towards rewarding whistleblowers, who give useful information to security agencies to swoop on criminals in the Abia.

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