Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and his Imo counterpart, Rochas Okorocha, said the five Fulani herdsmen killed in a forest along the border of the two states was an act of kidnapping carried out by miscreants.
The governors spoke on Monday in Umuahia while briefing newsmen on the outcome of a Joint Security Council meeting of the two states.
Ikpeazu said that kidnapping had become a recurring decimal in the area, adding that the meeting was convened to make a bold statement on the security challenges that confronted both states.
“We condemn the killings as it concerns the five Fulani men that were abducted and assassinated in a forest.
“And we are all united in the fact that the particular forest and such other forests will be rid of criminals that use them as hideouts.
“It is our responsibility to protect lives and property of people that reside in Abia, as security agencies of both states have been mandated to cross the borders of both states to hunt down criminals”.
He said that the time when criminals would launch attacks and hide in Imo and vice versa had become a thing of the past.
In his remarks, Okorocha also condemned the killing, adding that the culprits would be punished.
” On the issue of the killing of five Fulani men that has caused tension, the culprits have been arrested and will be dealt with under the law as well as made to pay the ultimate price.”
Okorocha said that the killing was a case of kidnapping and had nothing to do with ethnicity.
“Information reaching us reveal that it is not just five Fulani men as there are two corpses believed to be Igbos from the area, so it is not a direct attack on any ethnic group”, he added.
Retired Capt. Awa Kalu, the Security Adviser to Abia Governor, said that “the alleged killing of herdsmen should be in Isuikwuato Local Government Area, along the border between Abia and Imo around Uturu axis.”
Kalu said that the suspects that were arrested in connection with the crime have been giving useful information to the security agencies.