Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State has suspended work on the Ebonyi Ring Roads project site situated at the Effium axis in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of the state for seven days because of security threats.
The governor also threatened to shut down any of the ring roads project sites where security of construction workers and equipment were being threatened.
Mr Umahi announced the suspension on Wednesday in Abakaliki at an expanded security meeting held at the new Government House, Centenary City.
The expanded security meeting was attended by heads of security services, chairmen of local councils, coordinators of Development Centres, among others.
The governor said 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.
“If the stakeholders fail to abide by what we said, the job will be terminated. I cannot be here and guarantee 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 Local Government Areas.
“Where we believe we have problems will be the axis of Effium in Ohaukwu.
“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,” Mr Umahi said.
The governor demanded for a sworn affidavit from stakeholders hosting sections of the projects in their various communities.
“I need a sworn 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.
He insisted that he would not hesitate to shut any project site in any community that failed to comply with the directive.
Mr Umahi said the contractors must appoint liaison officers in all the communities the project is passing through, as well as engage local vigilantes to secure their sites.
“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,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that five construction workers were abducted at the Effium axis of the ring roads project site on November 6 and have not been seen or heard from.
The firm, Neclan Construction Company, petitioned the Inspector General of Police, over the missing engineers.
The Ebonyi ring roads project traversed about seven local government areas of the state.
Support PREMIUM TIMES' journalism of integrity and credibility
Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.
For continued free access to the best investigative journalism in the country we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.
By contributing to PREMIUM TIMES, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
TEXT AD: To advertise here . Call Willie +2347088095401...