Barely 24 hours after the release of the kidnapped Prelate, Methodist Church of Nigeria, His Eminence Samuel Uche and two other clerics after payment of N100 million ransom, the youths of the community have demanded that the military should vacate their community over alleged military involvement in criminal activities in the area.
The youths in large numbers stormed the military checkpoint in Lomar, Abia State, demanding the immediate dismantling of the checkpoint after they were accused of complicity in the kidnapping of the Prelate of the Methodist Church.
Dressed in black attires and chanting war songs the embittered youths decried the menacing activities and atrocities of gunmen in the area.
They carried placards with various inscriptions such as: ”Enough is enough”, among others.
Voicing the grievances of the protesters at the Council headquarters, Comrade Divine Uche, said that the youths of Umunneochi would no longer tolerate continued harassment, torture and kidnappings for ransom by gunmen in the area.
The youths accused security agents especially the Army of not doing much to checkmate the activities of the assailants on the prowl in the area.
Also, the youths demanded that the military checkpoint at Lomara junction be removed and the barricade by the soldiers blocking the Ihube/Isuochi road cleared without delay so that motorists will be able to ply the route again.
According to them, the presence of the military checkpoint in the area has not stopped kidnappings and other criminal activities, rather abductions for ransom go on with impunity under the watch of the security agents in the area.
The youths vowed that after seven days if their demands were not met, they might be forced to take laws into their hands to protect their people against criminal elements on the prowl in the area
Responding, Chief of Staff to the Council Chairman, Mr Emmanuel Azubuike, who said his boss had gone to Umuahia for a security meeting with the Governor, thanked the youths for their peaceful comportment and promised to convey their grievances to the Chairman.
He noted with concern, the atrocities of gunmen in the area and the docility of security agencies.
According to him the Council has done over 80% of the work but regretted that the soldiers have continued to frustrate efforts to complete the project.
He alleged that cement bought by the Council for the work was even destroyed by rain due to the hostile attitude of the soldiers.