He explained that the military’s involvement was not intended to crush anyone in Orlu. According to him, the situation has been brought under control and all those apprehended will soon be charged to court.
Speaking on his confrontation with former governor Rochas Okorocha, Governor Uzodinma denied that there was an attempt to assassinate his predecessor in office.
Instead, he underscores that he has no personal issues with the former Governor but simply protecting the oath he undertook to protect the law and citizens of the state.
See photos from the Governor’s meeting with President Buhari below…
The Imo State Government have declared a curfew in Orlu and six other LGAs around the town after clashes erupted between the army and a local militia, killing at least one person, officials and witnesses said Tuesday.
The governor of Imo state, Hope Uzodinma, said a curfew had been imposed in the city of Orlu and nine surrounding districts on Monday after “militants… unleashed a shooting spree… killing an innocent citizen.”
“As an interim measure to immediately restore the peace in Orlu zone, a dusk-to-dawn curfew (6pm to 6am) is hereby imposed,” he said in a statement.
The region has long been a hotbed for separatist groups, and tensions between the federal security forces and the indigenous Igbo population have been high.
Videos and pictures on social media appeared to show soldiers shooting in the streets of Orlu, but the images could not be immediately verified independently.
Local residents also reported several people were killed and wounded but those reports were not immediately confirmed by officials or police.
The reason behind the clashes was unclear, but one Orlu resident said the army retaliated after a soldier was allegedly killed by IPOB members.
“The incident started on Sunday when security operatives clashed with some youths and militia members following the reported killing of a soldier,” said resident Felix Chiazor.
“Angered by the incident, the soldiers returned to Orlu and met stiff resistance, leading to sporadic gunshots in the area and burning down of houses and shops.”
The militia involved is the Eastern Security Network, which is backed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) — a political movement that seeks a separate state for the Igbo people of southeast Nigeria.
Human rights bodies have long accused Nigerian security forces of killing IPOB members, claims that they have denied.
Police spokesman Orlando Ikeokwu confirmed on Tuesday that “clashes” erupted in Orlu but would not provide further details.
“Normalcy is returning (to the area),” the police officer said, adding that officials would comment later on unconfirmed reports of people injured and killed during the clashes.
A traditional chief from Orlu, Ernest Adimiaka, told AFP that four people including a middle-aged woman had died in the clashes.
“We are yet to confirm the identity of those killed but we saw their lifeless bodies on the street. This is aside the scores of people that sustained various forms of injuries,” Adimiaka said.
Calls for a separate state of Biafra are a sensitive subject in Nigeria, after a unilateral declaration of independence from British rule in 1967 sparked a brutal 30-month civil war.
More than one million people died, most of them Igbos, from conflict, hunger and disease.
The recently-formed militia is “scattered all over the southeast,” said Don Okereke, an independent security analyst who specialises in the region.
“Its members are training like military, it’s worrying,” said Okereke. “Some radical elements believe that if they are not armed, the military can take over at any time.”
Following the spike in COVID-19 cases nationwide, the Imo state Governor Hope Uzodinma has threatened to order a second and complete lockdown in Imo state if residents continue to disregard and take for granted the safety protocols being put in place by the state government to contain the spread of the virus.
Addressing newsmen at the government house in Owerri on Friday, the Governor expressed displeasure over the nonchalant attitude of residents to the existence of COVID-19.
He said based on its determination to protect and safeguard the lives of Imo people from the dreaded virus, the government will begin aggressive enforcement of safety protocols such as mandatory use of face masks in public and hand sanitizers as well as the prohibition of gathering above 50 persons including religious gatherings.
He warned that anyone found violating government directives will be charged to a mobile court and if found guilty will be sentenced to jail or pay a fine.
“The penalty for not wearing face masks is a maximum jail term of six months or N20,000 in lieu,” Uzodinma said.
“The Executive Order further provides that any gathering of more than 50 persons anywhere in the state is an offense. The conveners of such gatherings also risk six months in prison or N20,000 in lieu.
“I must make it absolutely clear that if our people choose instead to continue to deceive themselves, that coronavirus does not exist, and continue to go about without wearing face masks and without observing the safety protocols, I will be forced to review the situation in coming weeks.
“If it is clear from the realities on the ground that extra or more stringent measures must be taken to keep our people safe, I will have no choice but to authorize a second lockdown of the state.”
Imo State reported five new cases of the virus on Friday, according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control.
The state has a total of 917 confirmed cases and 17 deaths since the NCDC started compiling its data last February.
He welcomed Umahi’s entry into the APC and said he has no knowledge of the latter’s rumoured presidential ambition as a factor in the move.
Uzodinma urged Nigerians to celebrate the successes of the Buhari administration which, according to him, includes food security and the various social intervention programs being carried out across the country.
On the newly commissioned modular refinery in the state, Uzodinma said if every state can replicate it, there would be no need to import petroleum into the country.
The homegrown refining will also free over a trillion naira that can be used for other purposes, he added.
The Governor encouraged Imo indigenes to come home for Christmas and see the changes he has made to the state since assuming office.
The Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, has signed an Executive order which significantly reduces the Right of Way (ROW) of telecommunication companies in the State from N4500 to N145 per meter in tandem with Federal Government policy.
According to Governor Uzodinma, the reduction was a manifestation of the government’s determination to spur the telecommunication companies to further invest in broadband infrastructure and trigger ancillary on-line services, especially in the field of education.
He noted in a statement on Wednesday that his government is hopeful that this drastic reduction from N4500 of the broadband ROW to N145 per linear meter of fibre will accelerate the deployment of affordable and reliable modern high-speed connectivity in the State.
The Executive order urged telecommunication companies to note that the State plays host to vibrant and youthful demography located in many tertiary institutions, who form the bulk of the end-users of their products.