By Ekemini Simon
The Abia State Government has sternly warned the people of Abia State to desist from indiscriminate barricade of public roads, noting that the act is illegal and invitation to crisis.
Road barricading is a common money spinning endeavour carried out by youth of the area against commuters who attempt to divert from bad spots on the road. This has recently led to a shooting incident involving NSCDC officer which snowballed into the death of one Onyekachi Wogu of Obingwa LGA of Abia State.
According to the Chairman of Obingwa Local Government Area, Kingsley Nnaji, the Governor of Abia State, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu gave the directive against road barricading recently when he visited the community after the death of Wogu. The State Governor hails from the Local Government Area.
The Council Chairman who made this known on Wednesday during a condolence visit by the Akwa Ibom State Commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Commandant Samuel Fadeyi with his team noted that the State Governor was displeased with the practice of road barricade by the youth hence ordered the discontinuation of the practice.
He said ” After the incident, the Governor visited the community. He was not happy with the road blocks mounted. He mobilized them to cut off what they used to block the road. He told them that it was illegal for Federal roads to be blocked. His emphasis was on peace”.
While noting that the people of the area do not hold anything against NSCDC, he blamed the incidence on the poor condition of the Aba- Ikot Ekpene road.
Nnaji noted ” If that road was not neglected, I don’t think that incident would have occurred. It was an individual thing. Our people do not have to escalate it.”
“We are not at war with NSCDC. There should be no fear. We are progressive people. We deeply appreciate your visit. That means you are indeed civil and as human, you feel about what had happened. We will convey your visit to the Governor.”
On his part, the Coordinator of the Group of Villages, HRH Eze Michael called on the Federal Government to hasten the Aba- Ikot Ekpene road project so that altercation between the community and security operatives or commuters would not occur further.
While commending the Commandant of NSCDC in Akwa Ibom State over what he described as boldness and human feelings expressed in the visit, he assured a peaceful bond between his domain and the officials of NSCDC.
Also speaking, the Village Head of Umukoro village, Chukwudi Ubani commended the NSCDC over their decision to visit.
He stressed that they are not at war with NSCDC but called on Federal Government to address the deplorable condition of the road which he said will discourage diversion into the premises of the villagers.
Chief Ubani added ” We want to assure you that we will get over this with time. We are also assuring you that the relationship will continue.”
Earlier, the Akwa Ibom State Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Commandant Samuel Fadeyi offered insight to the fact that his visit was to condole with the community and make them understand that NSCDC is not their enemy.
While noting that the question of how the shooting happened is a subject of investigation, the Commandant charged the community to remain law abiding and cooperative with expatriates and security operatives who are working for the success of the road project within their domain.
He added ” With animosity, there will be no development. Thus, we came here to condole with you and also understand the way forward. We are always civil in our approach and will continue to be civil. Therefore, we call on you to be civil in your activities too so that development may come to your community”.
The meeting had in attendance the immediate younger brother of the deceased, extended family members, stakeholders from the community and local government area among community liaison officers for the road project.