Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State said on Monday that anyone who blocks his convoy will be killed.
This is as soldiers from Nkwagu Military Cantonment in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, at the weekend raided Onicha/Igboeze Onicha autonomous community in Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State following an attack on the convoy of the state governor, Dave Umahi, by some youths from the area on Friday.
The governor’s convoy was reportedly blocked along the Umudomi axis of Onicha-Abakaliki road while on his way back to the state capital from his Uburu, Ohaozara home on Friday night.
The attack occurred when the governor made a stop in the area to ascertain the source of a commotion along the road.
It was gathered that there was already a clash among some youths there before the governor arrived the area.
A source in the community said the clash escalated when the governor made the stop.
Efforts by security agents in the governor’s convoy to stop the clash proved abortive as some of the youths overpowered one of the soldiers in the convoy and collected his Ak47 rifle from him while the convoy was speeding off.
To recover the gun, soldiers numbering over 100 on Saturday morning invaded the communities and made indiscriminate arrests of youths and some leaders of the area linked to the incident.
The soldiers said they must recover the gun before leaving the community.
Reacting to the incident on Monday, the governor ordered the immediate arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment of all those involved in the attack on his convoy.
Narrating the incident at the Executive Council chambers while receiving some guests, the governor also condemned the attack and described it as a criminal breach of the law.
He said the suspects made away with a gun belonging to an army officer and expressed worry over what they could have done if it had been an ordinary victim that encountered them.
Enraged by the development, Umahi also pronounced a ban on wake-keeps and other such ceremonies beyond 10p.m across the state.
He also detailed his security aides to ensure that all the suspects were identified and brought for prosecution and possible imprisonment.
Umahi said: “Yesterday night, I was coming back by 12 midnight. Of course, I had to stop over at the College to inspect projects, but when we got to Onicha, they blocked the road.
“Even with the litany of army and the police and everything, they did not even want to open the road.
“Then I said they should arrest all of them, but most of them ran away. I think they even took a gun from an army officer.
“So, the chairman of the local government, the House of Assembly members and coordinators, they are working very hard and the SSA on Security – they are all there to sort it out.
“But I said all of them will go to prison. So, they have to identify them, bring them here, and we will prosecute them to show example.
“And I want it to be announced that henceforth, no wake-keep should go past 10p.m.
“If you must pass 10p.m, take a written permission from the chairman of the local government, and both the chairman and the person that requested will be held responsible if any problem occurs.
“This should be widely circulated and properly announced.
“My problem is not that they blocked the governor, but my worry is supposing that it was a smaller person that was passing, who had no army and police, they would have robbed the person.
“That’s what it means. Any other time, the ADC should order for a shoot.
“It is against the law to block the governor, and if anyone is killed in the process, it is in accordance with the law.”