Abia State government has ordered the withdrawal of personnel of the Abia State Vigilante Services (AVS) from the popular Timber Market in Umuahia North Local Government Area of the state.
This is coming on the heels of Monday burning of the office of the AVS at the Timber Market after personnel of the security agency reportedly killed a trader and injuring many in the wood market.
The State government stated this in statement issued on behalf of the governor; Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Barr. Chris Ezem on Tuesday.
According to the SSG, the government frowns at what he described as an unfortunate incident, adding that the State Government has directed the Commissioner of Police to thoroughly investigate the alleged altercation that led to the ugly incident that happened in the market on Monday.
Ezem who stated that the government would not hesitate in punishing any AVS personnel involved in the harassment and intimidation of Abia citizens reminded Abians that burning of private and government facilities attract severe consequence under the law.
The release read “The attention of Abia State Government has been drawn to the recent wanton destruction of Abia Vigilante Services, AVS, Office, Timbers Market, Umuahia.
“Government frowns at this unfortunate incident and has accordingly directed the Commissioner of Police to thoroughly investigate the alleged altercation leading to the burning of AVS facilities.
“Government directs the officers and men of AVS to withdraw from the market forthwith while the leadership of the market is enjoined to assist the police identify the arsonists.
“The impunity of burning buildings and other public institutions must stop forthwith, as arson remains a very serious crime against the state and humanity, which attracts severe consequences under our laws.
“Government will promptly discipline any AVS personnel who harasses or intimidates citizens.
“Abians are enjoined to go about their normal business and avoid engaging an armed person in any fisticuffs.”
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Our correspondent reports that traders of the Timber Market have deserted the market in an apparent move to avoid being arrested by the police.