24th November, 2021
By Douglas Okoro
Governor Dave Umahi has suspended the construction work on the Ebonyi Ring Roads project at the Effium axis in Ohaukwu LGA over security threats.
The governor also threatened to shut down any of the ring roads project sites where the security of construction workers and equipment were being threatened.
Umahi announced the suspension on Wednesday in Abakaliki at an expanded security meeting held at the new Government House, Centenary City, Abakaliki.
The expanded security meeting was attended by heads of security services, local government chairmen, Coordinators of Development Centres among others.
He said that activities on the site would be put on hold for seven days to enable the government to sort out issues of insecurity with stakeholders of the affected area.
“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 the 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 today,” Umahi said.
The governor demanded an affidavit from stakeholders hosting sections of the projects in their various communities.
“I need an 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,” the governor added.
The governor stressed that he would not hesitate to shut any project site in any community that failed to comply with the directive.
“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 security.
“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 sworn 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 Ebubeagu security outfit. I want them to be registered under Ebubeagu security outfit so that the law will cover them,” the governor added.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that five construction workers were abducted at the Effium axis of the ring roads project site on Nov. 6 and have not been seen or heard from.
The firm, Neclan Construction Company has also petitioned the Inspector General of Police, over the missing engineers.
NAN also reports that the Ebonyi ring roads project traversed about seven LGAs of the state. (NAN