Abia State Governor, Dr Okezie Ikpeazu, has decried the recent spike in crimes in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state and charged security agencies to go after the criminals, and appeal to residents of the town to partner with government and security agencies by providing useful information that will aide in dislodging the criminals.
Governor Ikpeazu who identified cross border criminals and local gangs as being responsible for the new wave of armed robbery and kidnapping in the city, vowed that "all criminal elements will be taken to justice or chased out of Aba and Abia state within a very short time".
The Governor who recalled that the last Yuletide season was the most peaceful in the history of the state as a result of the vigilance and hard work of the security agencies in the state, with support from his administration, promised to work with security agents and the federal government to relaunch "Operation Jubilee".
According to the Governor, additional mobile police officers and soldiers will be involved in the operation to fish out and punish criminals with the state ready to procure additional 10 vehicles and body armor equipment to enhance the operational efficiency of security agents in the state.
Governor Ikpeazu praised security agents in the state for "making Easter Sunday and Monday black days for some of the men of the underworld at Aba who met their waterloo". He told newsmen that those criminals captured alive are already giving useful information that will help security agents to arrest their fleeing colleagues.
Governor Ikpeazu however announced a cash reward of one million naira (N1,000,000.00) to members of the public who volunteer information that will lead to the arrest of any kidnapper or armed robber in the state.
He also announced a reward of one million naira (N1,000,000.00) to security agents who are able to arrest or smash any kidnap or armed robbery gang in the state as his government's further support to ensure the sustenance of peace and tranquility in the state.
The Governor assured that all information to the Special Phone Number and email address that will be issued to members of the public will be treated with strict confidentiality and the informant rewarded immediately.
On the activities of touts engaged by revenue agents in the state, the Governor frowned at the molestation of citizens and road users by those engaged to collect flying revenue for the state and vowed to punish any of them who molests innocent citizens.
He announced that a panel of inquiry to be headed by the Attorney General of the state, Chief Umeh Kalu, Commissioner of Police, Adeleye Oyebade, Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Charles Ogbonnaya, His Royal Majesty, Eze Love Wogu and the representative of Department of State Service (DSS) has been set up to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the incident at Ogbor Hill bridge Aba that led to the unfortunate loss of lives last week as a result of the suspected activities of touts.
He assured that those responsible would be brought to book, noting that: "the drive for flying revenue in Abia State can't be equated with the life of any Abian. I will rather do away with flying revenue to ensure the safety of life of Abians and residents".
The Abia State Governor, who returned to the state from China during the weekend, urged those responsible for revenue collection to devise better means of carrying out their duties or risk losing their jobs.
He expressed dissatisfaction that the state's monthly IGR still stands at N1b even with the efforts put into infrastructure development across the state to make collection easier.
It will be recalled that the Governor Ikpeazu visited the scene of the recent accident that claimed lives at Waterside Bridge in Aba, and frowned at the use of touts as revenue collection agents and ordered full scale investigation into the remote and immediate causes of the unfortunate incident while vowing to bring the perpetrators to book.