The Abia State Police Command has uncovered a tunnel suspected to be used by kidnappers to move their victims into the bush in Lekwesi community, Umunneochi LGA of the state.
The Abia State Commissioner of Police, CP Kenechukwu Onwuemelie, disclosed this at the weekend when he led a team of “Operation Crush” men and some Abia State government officials to two schools taken over by kidnappers in Lekwesi community, Umunneochi LGA.
CP Onwuemelie said the schools visited have been dilapidated for a long time, adding that reconstruction of the schools would make it difficult for criminals to make use of them as dens.
CP Onwuemelie further said that the entire area is vast and the culverts seen in the bushy areas could be used to hide victims.
“Because, if you are not aware that those culverts are there and you are passing by, you just pass on on top. There is a possibility that any structure that provides cover can be used to hide kidnapped victims including the culverts but we must also tell you that in the past seven months, the challenge of kidnapping has been tackled very well in Abia State,” he said.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Security Matters, Commander Macdonald Uba (Rtd) who was part of the team, alleged that roads around the schools were not built by previous administrations, pointing out that kidnappers took advantage of the situation to use the places as their den.
He said the Abia State Government would do the road and reactivate the schools but urged the host villages to always provide timely information to the state government and security operatives.
Ferdinand Ekeoma, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and Publicity, said information from security agencies revealed that the tunnel served as a place where victims of kidnappings were dropped off, after ransom payment.
Contributing, the Chairman of Umunneochi LGA, Ndubuisi Ike, said kidnapping in the area has significantly reduced.
Mr Ike, who said that the kidnappers vandalised the two schools and wanted to dominate the area, appreciated Governor Otti and security agencies for their efforts.
Some members of the Lekwesi community including, Stephen Udeogu, Mr. Njoku Augustine and Anthony Akuma said upon the invasion of the Lekwesi secondary school by kidnappers, students were moved to Lekwesi primary school, where the kidnappers equally chased the pupils out and occupied the schools and started using the buildings as kidnap den.