Abia: Otti places N25m bounty on killers of Soldiers

The Abia State Government has placed a N25 million bounty on killers of five soldiers in the state.

The Commissioner for Information in Abia State, Okey Kanu, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

Blueprint reported how gunmen, on Thursday morning, attacked and killed the soldiers in Obikabia Junction in Aba, the commercial hub of Abia State.

The gunmen were said to be enforcing the sit-at-home order declared by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) across the South-east to mark their Biafra Day which is celebrated annually in the region.

According to the statement: “This is more regrettable in the light of the fact that unprecedented investments have been made in the last one year to restore the city’s public infrastructure and reposition it as an attractive investment destination for local and foreign businesses,” Mr Kanu said.

“To underscore its resolve, the state government is offering a N25 million reward to anyone with useful information that could lead to the location and arrest of any of the criminals connected to the unfortunate killings, and the subsequent state of apprehension across the city of Aba and environs,” he stated.

The commissioner said security agencies in the state have been directed to treat informants with confidentiality to guarantee their cooperation and assistance until the killers were arrested.

Kanu said the Abia State Government will “respond appropriately” to reassure residents and investors that the government could be “relentless” in prosecuting anyone or group that constitutes threat to peace and security in the state.

He said the Abia State Government commiserated with the Chief of Army Staff, Taoreed Lagbaja, and other military authorities over the incident.

The information commissioner announced that the government will “take up the responsibility of supporting the families of the slain soldiers,” which he said include the “payment of regular stipends to their spouses, and the education of their children to university level.”

He said the government commended all military officers and men of the Nigerian army in the state for “maintaining a high sense of professionalism in their response to the very distressing event.”

Kanu urged residents to go about their lawful businesses, assuring that the necessary measures had been put in place to ensure their safety in the state.

“The state (government) will also encourage our military and security personnel to continue to show restraint, whether at the checkpoints, on patrol, or while engaged in other security duties, even as the government continues to work with all relevant stakeholders, including the security high commands, traditional and community leaders to gather and process all intelligence information which will ultimately lead to the capture of the perpetrators of the heinous crime at Obikabia Junction, and anyone directly or remotely connected to it in any form,” he said.

Kanu said the state government has warned traditional rulers in the state against harbouring those responsible for the killing of the soldiers.

“The state government shall not hesitate to bring the full weight of the law to bear on any traditional or community leader found to be harbouring criminals in their domains,” he said.

The commissioner advised the traditional rulers and other leaders in communities across the state “to set up suitable local intelligence gathering mechanisms” in their localities for sharing new information with security agencies.