Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and his Imo State counterpart, Chief Rochas Okorocha, yesterday, admitted that a shallow grave with corpses was discovered in a forest in the boundary community along Uturu axis of Abia State.
They said that the grave was dug by suspected kidnappers, who killed and buried five Fulani herdsmen and two Igbo men. They swore to aggressively tackle the menace of kidnapping in both states. They ruled out ethnic killing or killing by any group, saying it was a case of kidnapping.
The joint security meeting was also attended by some traditional rulers led by the chairman of South East Traditional Rulers’ Council, Eze Eberechi Dick. At a joint press briefing, shortly after rising from a joint security meeting of the two states, the governors attributed the killing to activities of kidnappers which they agreed needed to be tackled aggressively.
According to them, security operatives have been directed to raid the forest and clear it of miscreants, and warned that any property in which kidnapping activity was carried out would be demolished and the land taken over by the government.
First to speak was Governor Ikpeazu, who condemned the killings and dumping of corpses in the shallow grave. He noted that his Imo State counterpart came with his security chiefs for the meeting, to fashion out ways of improving security.
He said that they would “re-strategise and make bold statements about the security challenges facing the two states; one of such is that we condemn the spate of kidnapping, especially the five Fulani men that were abducted and assassinated in the forest.”
For Governor Okorocha: “We are here to join forces with Abia and to see how we flush out criminal elements in the two states, particularly the recent kidnapping of five Fulani herdsmen. We condemn the killing of five Fulani herdsmen and two Igbo, who were buried in the forest.
“The culprits have been arrested and they will face the full wrath of the law. I assure you that all of them that were involved will pay the ultimate price for their action.
I also want to make the world understand that it was not an issue of ethnicity or hatred for any group, but a case of kidnapping. “We also looked at our porous borders and have declared a joint security patrol.”