By Ewa Innocent, The Sight News
Abakaliki: Ebonyi state governor Engr. David Umahi has ordered the suspension of work on a section of Abakaliki ring road project, running through Effium axis in Ohaukwu local government area of the state, over security threat.
Umahi announced this during a large site security meeting held at the governor’s office at the new Government House, Ochudo City, Abakaliki.
According to governor David Umahi, activities on the site would be put on hold for the next seven days to enable the government to sort out issues of insecurity with stakeholders of the affected area.
His words,“Activities on the site are suspended for seven days to enable me clear the issue of security.
“If the stakeholders fail to abide by what we said, the job will be terminated. I cannot be here and guarantee security of the lives of the people I am putting on site; they have to give me that commitment.
“It is just that we don’t listen, we could have had this kind of meeting much earlier before now and we said for any site to resume, there should be this kind of commitment and the contractors should have insisted on this commitment from the locals.
“Nobody is coming from outside to attack. So far, we have not had a record of insecurity in the axis of 135/Ezza North, Ezza North to Ezza South-Ikwo-Abakaliki-Izzi-Ebonyi LGAs.
“Where we believe we have problems will be the axis of Effium in Ohaukwu LGA.
“The entire Ring road project is being threatened and I will be willing to shut down any of the sections that will not comply with my directive,” Umahi said.
The governor, who was visibly unhappy over the security threat in the area, demanded for a sworn affidavit from stakeholders hosting sections of the projects in their various communities.
“I need a sworn affidavit from all the traditional rulers; town union presidents, chairmen of the local government and coordinators where the roads are passing.
“The affidavit is to be crafted by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG) and the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice.
“The affidavit will be that they will take responsibility for the security of the contractors, consultants, everyone involved in the discharge of their duties and also their equipment.
“Anyone (affidavit) I do not get after seven days, no negotiation, I will shut down that section and it will never be reopened on account of insecurity.
“The contractors should also stop being very funny in their approach to issues.
“You have to appoint liaison officers in all the communities the project is passing through in your section, and you will not choose by yourself, the people that swear the affidavit are the people that will put the liaison officers.
“They will also give a local vigilante and this local vigilante will be two.
“There will be more than 10 local vigilantes on the machine that will be patrolling your section front and back, day and night, while another set will be stationed at the yards for the contractors.
“You will pay them what we are paying to the Ebubeagu security outfit. I want them to be registered under the Ebubeagu security outfit so that the law will cover them,” the governor stated.
It will be recalled that five construction workers were recently abducted at the Effium axis of the ring roads project site on November 6 and have since not been seen or heard about.
The Effium community has been engulfed with crises with many lives and properties lost since January this year.
The crisis arose between the Effium speaking natives and Ezza Effium residents.
Several efforts made by the Ebonyi state government to bring a lasting peace to the area have not yielded positive results as the crisis still lingers with reports of missing persons and destruction of properties.