Abia Government Takes Decisive Action, Dismantles Lokpanta Cattle Market and Eliminates Criminal Activity

DR. ALEX OTTI, OFR, Governor of Abia State

In a recent development, the Abia state government has taken decisive action to address security concerns by clearing out the Lokpanta cattle market. The government has criticized Hausa community leaders for allegedly harboring criminals and spreading false information about the state administration.

Macdonald Ubah, a retired military officer and the special adviser to Governor Alex Otti on security matters, addressed the media at the Government House in Umuahia. He stated that the decision to transform the market into a daily market was driven by security considerations. As a result, the government has issued a seven-day notice for people residing within the market area to relocate.

According to Mr. Ubah, the government’s decision was based on intelligence indicating that the market had become a hub for kidnappers in the region. Over the past year, a significant number of kidnappings have occurred in the Lokpanta-Umunneochi and Uturu areas of Abia, which prompted the state government to take proactive measures.

The government expressed concern over the rising incidence of kidnappings in Abia and the infiltration of criminals into the cattle market. It was revealed that ransoms for kidnapping incidents were often paid in the vicinity of the Lokpanta cattle market. In response to this, the government initially issued a stern warning to the market’s leaders two months ago, making it clear that criminal activities would not be tolerated.

Mr. Ubah described the market’s expansion into the median of the road, which was being used for criminal activities, as a clear violation. The government first dismantled this part of the market and, more recently, took deliberate action to demolish over 160 rooms of brothels and shanties within the market area. This action also led to several arrests and the recovery of significant sums of money, with ongoing investigations.

Plans are now in progress to fence the market and convert it into a daily market to enhance its security. Mr. Ubah urged the public to disregard rumors about the expulsion of the Hausa community from the state, asserting that such claims were false and the work of troublemakers.

The government had, in fact, held a meeting with the cattle market leaders, informing them of the decision to transform the market into a daily market. While some raised concerns about the short notice, they did not receive an eviction order. The government’s objective is to make the market safer, as there have been no reported kidnappings in the vicinity for the past six weeks since these measures were implemented.

In conclusion, the government is committed to ensuring the safety of the state and taking the necessary steps to achieve this goal.