From Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Ebonyi Governor, David Umahi, yesterday, urged bandits and criminals terrorising the state to lay down their arms and come for negotiations as his administration is ready to assuage their grievances.
The governor said his government was not only ready to negotiate with them, but would also ensure they were empowered to allow peace and progress reign in the state.
He made the appeal during a service at Christ Embassy Church, Mile 50, Abakaliki, where he called on leaders of the South East and the nation to rise and act rightly to rescue the nation from bandits and criminals.
The church held the programme as part of activities marking one-week fasting and prayer on insecurity in the state.
The governor noted that part of the major factors causing insecurity in the zone was hunger and unemployment, stressing that his administration would continue to empower and create jobs for the youths.
“What is happening in the South East is not peculiar to South East, it is all over the country and so, the leaders must sit up, we can’t continue to pretend as leaders, in this state, we have so much battle and the battle is stomach infrastructure.
“It is time to embrace peace, I have said, lay down your arms. I’m ready to empower all our brothers and all the bandits, it is time to sit down with the market women, the downtrodden, find out their grievances, no bandit is after me and they cannot and nothing can stop me from supervising projects, no power can stop it,” said .
Umahi, while restating his commitment to completing all the ongoing projects in the state, noted that he will ensure the first aircraft lands in the Ebonyi International Airport before the end of the year.
He said the Ebonyi shopping mall had surpassed 90 percent completion and would soon be open for use.
Senior Pastor of the church, Eunice Oyeyemi, appealed to Nigerians to continue to seek God in prayer for the restoration of peace in parts of the country.
“This country has not been as badly challenged as it is presently and it is only with prayers that we will overcome, saturate yourselves again and again with the spirit of God and let his words be your guide,” she said.