Otti Vows to Hunt Down Hoodlums Behind Killing of Police Officers
Makes Peace Between Security Agents, Traders
Abia State Governor, Alex Otti, has vowed to hunt down the hoodlums that murdered two policemen in the commercial city of Aba on Tuesday.
He gave assurance Thursday July 27 when he visited the scene of the heinous crime at Ariaria where the police officers, identified by their ranks of constable and inspector, were killed while on official duty.
The victims were gunned down and their guns carted away during a attack launched by the gun men against the convoy of the state commissioner for trade, commerce and industry, Dr Chimezie Ukaegbu. A vehicle belonging to the ministry was burnt.
On the aftermath of the killing which occurred at SAMEK junction along Faulks Road, Aba, a combined team of security agencies had stormed the scene of the ugly incident making indiscriminate arrests.
The activities of the combined team of military, police and civil defence corps that stormed and cordoned off the crime scene were sparked allegations of torture and molestation of innocent traders, passers-by and residents.
Following the security operation which generated tension and face-off between traders at Ariaria International Market, the market and its environs were deserted.
While many traders stayed away from their shops, residents of Ariaria were said to have locked themselves in their compounds to avoid being molested or arrested.
But as Governor Otti arrived the crime scene the tension in the air began to fizzle out as his presence encouraged the scared traders and residents to start creeping out.
With their new found boldness they cheered and sang the governor’s praise as the chief security officer of the state went round the deserted neighbourhood to douse tension and normalise the situation.
Otti was accompanied by some security chiefs, including the Commissioner of Police, Kene Onwuemelie and the Commander of the 14 Brigade Nigerian Army, Ohafia, Brig Gen NJ Edet.
Addressing the small gathering of traders at the market, Otti assured them that the presence of the security agencies was for their protection.
He warned them to be of good conduct and cooperate with the security men as they search for the criminals.
He said: “It’s unfortunate that some criminals attacked policemen here two days ago, and in response, there was a reprisal attack. Unfortunately, reprisal attacks as I have often said always end up with the wrong people because the criminals would probably have run away.
“We must track down the criminals”.
The governor told the frightened traders that ” having noticed that you closed your shops in fear, I have come to reassure you that you shouldn’t fear. Please open your shops.
“Any security man you see, whether police, army, DSS or civil defence, they have come to give you protection not to attack you. So, we will continue in the search for the criminals because we will not allow criminals to distract us”.
Otti therefore enjoined the traders to “go about your lawful business, open your shops, you’ll be protected and no one will molest you”.
He also commiserate with families of the slain police officers and assured them that those behind the killings would be tracked down and punished.