No fewer than 50 decomposing, 20 headless bodies have been uncovered around Lokpanta Regional Cattle Market in Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State.
Governor Alex Otti made the revelation during a media parley in Umuahia on Sunday night. He expressed regret that the vicinity of the market had become a den of criminals.
He vowed that there was no going back on the decision of the state government to eject all residents out of the market.
The Abia governor said it would become a day market “that closes in the evening and everybody goes home”.
Governor Otti noted that the ongoing campaign against insecurity in the Umunneochi/Isuikwuato axis was beginning to yield fruits.
Also, his administration was poised to pay the cost of restoring sanity, peace and order in the region and the entire state.
He vowed that no inch of Abia State, including where the bodies were found, would be allowed to serve as a breeding ground for criminals.
Furthermore, he said, anybody still opposed to the government’s efforts to sanitise the cattle market must be a criminal or an accomplice.
Governor Otti said that his administration had introduced technology in the fight against insecurity in the state. And he vowed to sustain the heat against criminals until total peace and security were restored.
Bodies in Abia market
Governor Otti said: “We have installed electronic equipment that tells us what is happening in every part of the state.
“A few weeks ago, we found that a lot of ransom that was paid for kidnapping ended up somewhere around Umunneochi, and we decided to raid the place.
“During the raid, we made shocking discoveries.
“In less than 48 hours, we recovered over 50 dead bodies around the cattle market in Umunneochi.
“We recovered over 20 decomposing headless bodies — men, women, children! We recovered so many skeletons of people killed.
“We also discovered that gunrunning, prostitution and so many things were happening in the market.
“So, we realised that the first thing to be done is to secure the market. We went in and brought down many brothels. And we felt that the market, just like any other market, should be a day market which starts in the morning and closes in the evening.”
Otti further hinted that part of the measures to boost security in the area was to convert the market to a general-purpose one and to fence it around.
“We also feel that those people hibernating in the market should go and live in the communities. We want to have a peaceful Christmas around Umunneochi and other parts of the state.
“Anybody not supporting this move must be a criminal, and there is no place for criminals anymore in Abia,” he added.
Otti said that the fight against insecurity would not distract his administration from its development agenda, noting that the ongoing infrastructural development is on course.
He explained that apart from the number of road projects already awarded and delivered, more road projects would be awarded in the weeks ahead.
Otti said that three designs had already been received on the Nunya/Isuikwuato road, assuring that very soon the contract will be awarded.
He also said that the contract for the rehabilitation of Ohafia/Abam/Okobo/Arochukwu road, had been awarded.
The governor regretted that previous administrations awarded the same project but failed to execute. He promised that very soon, the age-long jinx that ‘no road to Arochukwu is easy’ would be broken.
He added that while the state government would be undertaking the Abam/Okobo/Arochukwu Road, pressure would be mounted on the Federal Government to rehabilitate the Ohafia/Ihechiowa/ Arochukwu Federal Road.