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Some youths of Umuochiala, Owerrinta, in Isiala Ngwa South LGA of Abia State have been arrested and allegedly taken to Abuja, for dredging sands at Imo River, a border town between Imo and Abia States.

The youths, who were working in the site, were believed to be eking out a living by lifting sand at the Imo River, before they were allegedly arrested and taken away by the police.

A community leader and indigene of Umuochiala, Owerrinta who spoke to journalists on the issue, blamed the arrest of the youths on few indigenes of the community who are based outside the country and their supporters at Umuochiala.

The community leader, who pleaded anonymity, dismissed the claims by the abroad-based individuals that the Owerrinta Bridge which links Imo State and Abia State may soon collapse because of dredging activities going on in the area.

However, some indigenes of Owerrinta, led by Dr Ngozi Erondu have raised alarm that the Imo River Bridge, which links Abia and Imo States may soon collapse as a result of activities of sand dredgers at the Imo River Bridge.

In the SoS message, Erondu alleged that the continued dredging of sand in the river was exposing the bridge to structural defects which could eventually lead to its collapse.

Meanwhile, Abia State Commissioner for Environment, Philemon Ogbonna has visited the Imo River site, with the aim of maintaining a lasting peace in the community.

Ogbonna, who was accompanied by some top officials of his ministry during the visit, appealed to the parties to allow peace to reign, even as he promised to facilitate the release of some persons that were arrested by the police.

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