Insecurity: No Need To Arm Yourselves, Uzodimma Tells Imo Residents

A file photo of Governor Hope Uzodimma.

 

Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo has assured the residents of the state that there will be no need to arm themselves against gunmen terrorising the state.

He gave the assurance on Tuesday after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in his office at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

This followed the call by the Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara who asked residents of the state to procure licences and arm themselves in the face of persistent attacks on various communities.

Briefing State House correspondents after the meeting with the President, Governor Uzodimma said the security situation in Imo has not degenerated to the level of asking the people to defend themselves.

Rather, he expressed confidence in the ability of the security agencies in Imo to curb the activities of armed men disturbing the peace in the state.

READ ALSO: Call For Self-Defence: FG Should Accept Inevitability Of State Police – Ondo Govt

The governor, however, admitted that he was not in Zamfara and could not determine exactly why the state government made such a move.

He stressed that his own administration was in control of the security agencies in Imo, saying that was why he affirmed that the situation in the state has greatly improved.

Governor Uzodimma equally disclosed that President Buhari has approved the hosting of this year’s edition of the Nigerian Army Day in Imo.

Saying the development would further improve the security in the state, he stated that the approval for the event would take place during the President’s visit to commission some projects in Imo.

On Sunday, the governor had issued a 10-day ultimatum to gunmen in Imo to immediately come out of their hideouts and surrender their arms to their traditional rulers for unconditional pardon.

He warned that a failure to do so would attract bombardment by the security forces, saying the government was determined to rid the forests in Imo of bandits and accordingly, has procured the necessary equipment for the purpose.

Uzodinma Makes U-Turn, Fails To Name Sponsors Of Insecurity In Imo

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma speaks at the Government House in Owerri on January 4, 2022.

 

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma has made a U-turn and failed to name the sponsors of attacks in the state contrary to a pledge he made.

Speaking during the Imo stakeholders meeting at the Government House in Owerri on Tuesday, Uzodinma acknowledged that he promised a fortnight ago to name the sponsors of attacks in Imo.

But the governor craved the indulgence of the people that he would no longer name names but would leave security agencies ‘to do their work’ and prosecute those found culpable.

According to Uzodinma, many of the persons carrying out attacks in the state have been arrested.

READ ALSO: How We Regained Freedom From Notorious Bandit Leader Turji – Victim

“You will recall that few weeks ago, I assured you that my administration will name those behind the insecurity in the state during this stakeholders meeting,” the governor said.

“I want to tell you that after that statement, the whole issue has been politicised, social media took over the space, conventional media did not help matters and I don’t want to spoil the good works that security agencies are doing already.

 

“I want to crave your indulgence to let us allow the security agencies to finish their investigation, arrest those that are responsible and charge them to court.”

The governor also took a swipe at the former Governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha, for allegedly interfering in the affairs of his administration.

He cited former governors Achike Udenwa and Ikedi Ohakim, wondering why Okorocha would want to take over the state as private property.

The difference between the former governor and Okorocha, Uzodinma explained, is that the senator is out of office but still wants to be in the Government House.

While addressing himself as an older brother to Okorocha, he said tradition deserves that he be respected.

“I have many former governors in Imo State. I have Governor Achike Udenwa , Ikedi Ohakim, Okorocha former governor but none of them wants to take the whole state as a private property,” he said.

“The difference between the other former governors and Okorocha is that he is out of office, he still wants to be in office. Okorocha is a younger brother to me, I am older than him. If not any other thing, traditionally I deserve to be respected by him.

“I don’t want to join issues with him, let him just know that he is no longer the governor.  And for the short period that I will be here (God’s willing), he should allow me to answer the governor that I am.”

Speaking further, Uzodinma reiterated again that the security breaches experienced in the state is politically motivated based on intelligence and security information at the disposal of the state government.

He explained that his stance on this is based on confessional statements and substantial evidence provided by the criminals and cannibals recently arrested by security operatives.

This is even as he pledged that his government will not allow anyone or group to hold the state hostage, as the state government will allow the relevant law enforcement agencies to do the needful.

Uzodinma Commends Security Agencies For Arresting ‘Cannibals’

 

Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma on Monday commended security agencies for arresting about 30 suspected kidnappers who he described as ‘cannibals’.

The arrests were made by a combined team of security operatives after two traditional rulers were kidnapped in Imo state on Sunday.

According to Uzodinma, the arrests were a sign the new strategy for combating insecurity in the state was working.

READ ALSO: 30 Suspected Kidnappers Arrested As Imo Traditional Ruler Rescued

“I want to commend the security agencies in Imo State, the DSS, the army, the navy, the police, the civil defense, all of them, for putting their heads together and making sure that, at least, Imo people come home to celebrate Christmas,” the Governor said.

“It has been been a great thing of worry, wondering how entire local governments like Orsu local government would be abandoned in the hands of criminals and cannibals.

“From what we have seen, you will agree with me that these are criminals and bandits who have no future, no plan, who are killing human beings and roasting human beings, eating human beings, cannibals. How else are we supposed to treat these kinds of idiots, if not to ensure that the law takes its course.

“Often times we discuss our strategies and before they will be implemented, it is foiled by the group. Because of mutual suspicion, we have agreed to only discuss at the end of every operation.

“I don’t want to encourage security agencies to tell anybody how they intend to continue this fight. But I know the new strategy is working and my government will give them every support they need to ensure that there is peace in Imo State and then Imo people will be better off for it.”

Uzodinma Asks Igbo Youths To Shun Violence, Appreciate Opportunities In Nigeria

A file photo of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma.

 

Rather than resort to violence, youths in the South-East region should look beyond lamenting over the marginalisation of the Igbo people and take advantage of the opportunities in Nigeria.

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, gave the advice on Saturday at the presentation of his book titled ‘Reflections On The Igbo Question’ in Owerri, the state capital.

“What I have simply set out in this book is for our youths to appreciate the opportunities before them and embrace such instead of bemoaning the marginalisation of Ndigbo and resorting to violence, which is self-defeat,” he said. “They should come up with pragmatic ways of conquering their fear.

“I don’t want our youths to think that somebody is holding down their destiny. I also don’t want them to continue to be frustrated by the deliberate policies of exclusion. Instead, I want them to be focused on the larger picture of liberation through technology, trade, and commerce through which we can dominate Nigeria and dictate the pace of development.”

READ ALSO: Army Chief Warns Of Possible Increase In Activities Of Bandits, Terrorists By 2022

Noting that the accurate diagnosis of any ailment is a necessary step towards a cure, the governor believes bemoaning the marginalisation of Ndigbo in the Nigerian project is not as significant as devising a rational and realistic way out of the problem.

In spite of the state of affairs since the 1966 counter-coup, according to him, the Igbo people are still better off staying in Nigeria.

Igbos Are Leading

Governor Uzodinma anticipated that although some would not agree with his submission, he explained that going through the book would prove his point better.

He challenges the leaders and youths in the South East to reclaim their rightful place in Nigeria by building on the comparative advantage they have over their compatriots in other regions.

“We have to leverage the special talents bestowed on us by God to ensure that we are accorded our dues in Nigeria,” the governor stated. “One of the talents is technology. The other is commerce and trade.

“Currently, the evidence is there that it was helpful to us in the past and is still at our disposal today. Truth be told, we are dominating in commerce and trade in Nigeria. But we can do far better than that as a people if we put our thinking caps on.”

“In the real estate business in all the major cities of Nigeria, the Igbos are leading. Most standard provisions stores in any remote part of Nigeria are likely to be owned and operated by an Igbo man or woman.

“The second most populous ethnic group in any city in Nigeria outside the indigenes of the city are Igbos. How then do we harness these huge potentials to our advantage?” he queried.

Governor Uzodinma said Igbo students across the globe and in Nigeria were making waves with their technological innovations.

He stressed that individual accomplishments would only make a meaningful impact if they were collectively harnessed and channelled to a massive production hub to set the stage for the technological leap Nigeria has been yearning for over the years.

Imo Govt Condemns Killing Of Soldier, Burning Of Houses In Awommamma

File photo of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma.

 

The Imo State Government has condemned the killing of a soldier and the burning of houses in Awommamma, Oru East Local Government Area of the state.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Commissioner of Information and Strategy in the state, Declan Emelumba, described the crisis as “regrettable and avoidable”.

He said Governor Hope Uzodinma has ordered an immediate investigation into the ugly incident with a view to unravelling the cause of the crisis and the attendant loss of life and property.

READ ALSO: Two Killed As Troops Disperse IPOB Arsonists In Imo – Army

“Imo State Government is shocked and dismayed over the events of yesterday in Awommamma in Oru East local government area of the state. The ugly event is regrettable and avoidable,” the statement read.

“Government condemns the murder of a soldier by the so-called unknown gunmen. Certainly, this soldier who was on a legitimate duty to ensure free flow of traffic and to protect lives and property on this fateful Monday of November 22nd, did not deserve to die such a gruesome death.

“On the other hand, Government deprecates reports of wanton destruction of property visited on the community by aggrieved soldiers. The indiscriminate burning of residential and businesses premises of innocent citizens was not an appropriate response since two wrongs will never make a right. Government has good reasons to believe that there is more to the sad event than meets the eyes.

“Consequently, His Excellency, Senator Hope Uzodinma, the Executive Governor of Imo State has ordered a high-powered investigation into the incident to unravel the cause of the crisis and the attendant loss of life and property.”

FG To Give Imo $120m For Livestock Programme, Says Uzodinma

A file photo of Governor Hope Uzodinma.

 

The Federal Government will soon release $120 million to Imo State to support the state government’s livestock programme.

Governor Hope Uzodinma disclosed this on Friday during a broadcast to mark the nation’s 61st Independence Anniversary in Owerri.

He noted that the state has also been earmarked to receive $850 million to be distributed among seven states.

“Another benefit from the visit (President Muhammadu Buhari) is that the Federal Government has graciously included Imo State as a beneficiary of its special Agric Processing Zone Project for Livestock farming,” he said.

“Out of the seven states in the country that will benefit from a Federal Government  $850 million for the programme, Imo State is number two! Consequently, a whopping $120 million will soon be released to our state for the livestock programme.”

READ ALSO: We Must Stand Together To End Violence, Imo First Lady Tells Women

The governor explained that the Federal Government has also listed Imo as one of the states to benefit from a $1.4 billion facility secured from the World Bank for urban and rural water development.

Speaking on security, Uzodinma said relative peace has been recorded in the South-Eastern state under his administration.

He commended President Muhammadu Buhari and security agencies for their “invaluable support to the state government in tackling the worst form of banditry and criminality ever witnessed in the state.”

According to the Imo governor, everyone in the state is a witness to the “savagery and cannibalistic brutality that defined the regime of violence and criminality that enveloped the state for some months in the recent past.”

Uzodinma warned that his administration will not tolerate anybody that attempts to foment trouble in the state, vowing to crush criminal elements.

He called on people of the state to support the security agencies and government by providing useful information to flush out criminals from their hideouts.

“Anybody who attempts to disrupt the peace of the state again may not live to tell the story. That is why it is important for parents and guardians to rein in their children and wards as the security agencies have our directive to deal decisively with those who may be tempted to foment trouble again.

“I have just inaugurated a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the security breaches in the state and come out with recommendations on what government should do to ensure that there is no recurrence of such.

“I believe that both the perpetrators and their sponsors would be unmasked for Imo people to know their enemies. But all of us have a collective duty to protect our state against renegades,” he added.

Our Commitment To Nigeria’s Unity, Peace Is Irrevocable – Uzodinma

 

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, says his administration and the people of the state are committed to the peace of Nigeria.

He stated this on Thursday in a speech to welcome President Muhammadu Buhari who visited Imo to commission some projects.

“Our commitment to the unity and peace of Nigeria is irrevocable,” the governor asserted in Owerri, the state capital.

He further stated that through inclusive governance, his administration has accommodated every Nigerian resident in Imo State.

President Muhammadu Buhari is flanked by Governor Hope Uzodinma during his visit to Imo State on September 9, 2021.

 

After reeling out a number of projects which his administration has embarked on, Governor Uzodinma said his aim was to build a “mini Nigeria” in his state, where everyone would have not only a sense of belonging but unfettered accommodation.

He assured the President that his administration remained sincere in its endeavours to satisfy the yearnings of the Imo people, within available resources.

The governor thanked President Buhari for honouring the invitation to commission the projects put together by the ‘Shared Prosperity Administration’.

He also relayed the appreciation of the people regarding the President’s intervention in fixing the security breach in the state.

President Muhammadu Buhari greets supporters during his visit to Imo State on September 9, 2021.

 

Problems At The Centre

On his part, President Buhari said he has seen enough to account for the good deeds of the governor, noting that he was fascinated by the strides even in the face of unforeseen circumstances.

“I have seen enough that justifies his (Uzodinma) integrity in making sure that he is working very hard to make sure that you get the structures necessary.

“I am very impressed by what he has done because I have gone through the same problems at the centre,” Buhari said.

He assured Imo residents that his government would keep encouraging the state within the provisions of the Constitution.

President Muhammadu Buhari holds up a pair of scissors before commissioning a project during his visit to Imo State on September 9, 2021.

 

While in Imo, President Buhari commissioned a balloon technology-driven underground tunnel with surface drainage (Chukwuka Nwoha), Naze Road, and Nekede/Ihiagwa Road.

Other projects he commissioned were the newly-built Exco Chambers within the Government House known as the Douglas House, and the Egbeada Bypass (Amakohia).

IPOB Has No Powers Over Imo People – Uzodinma

File photo of Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, briefing State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

 

Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma on Wednesday reacted to the recent IPOB sit-at-home order, maintaining that the secessionist group has no influence on indigenes of the state.

The governor told reporters after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House that only his government can give an order mandating people to stay away from their work or businesses and expect obedience, the reason why normal activities have continued unabated in the state.

He said Imo State has become peaceful to the point that football matches now take place at night without fear,

He further advised Nigerians not to take laws into their hands even when aggrieved and protect the sanctity of the country.

 

APC Will Win Anambra Governorship Election – Uzodinma

 

Governor Hope Uzodinman of Imo State is optimistic that the All Progressives Congress (APC) will win the 2021 governorship election in Anambra State.

Mr Uzodinma, who chairs the APC Anambra Governorship Campaign Council, said the bond within the APC and the milestones achieved by the party makes it a marketable brand – one whose manifesto the Anambra people will buy, thereby leading to a win at the polls.

“We are going there with a brand, an enviable brand that will be easy to sell, and by the grace of God, I think APC will win Anambra gubernatorial election come November 2021,” Uzodinma boasted on Tuesday while appearing as a guest on Channels Television’s Politics Today.

Speaking about the mandate given him by his party, Governor Uzodinma explained that his business was to do his best to see that the Anambra people can agree with the vision of the APC.

He noted that though the south-eastern state is currently being ruled by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), the APC has a better name and is more functional and mobile than any other party in the country.

Governor Hope Uzodinma is confident that the APC will win the election.

 

According to Mr Uzodinma, the APC message will make the Anambra people swoon towards the party and the people will be convinced to go “into a new contract” which will lift them and bring development to their doorsteps.

In his opinion, a vote for the APC will “give the Anambra people the opportunity to once more belong to a national ruling political party in Nigeria”.

 

Petroleum Act Will Help Regulate Environmental Hazards

Governor Uzodinma also reacted to the signing of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying it would help to regulate environmental hazards such as oil spillage.

“All the hazards that follow the production of oil, mostly environmental hazards, are as a result of the absence of regulatory environments,” he stated.

“These laws when put in place, will not only regulate the environment but will also create room for value addition both in the oil-bearing communities, the oil-producing companies, and government royalties. So, it is going to be a value chain. The benefits are going to be so enormous.”

The Governor commended President Buhari for assenting to the act, noting that it had been a struggle over the years.

Petroleum Act Will Help Regulate Environmental Hazards – Uzodinma

 

Governor of Imo State Hope Uzodinma has said that the signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill 2021 into law will help to regulate environmental hazards such as oil spillage.

“All the hazards that follow the production of oil, mostly environmental hazards, are as a result of the absence of regulatory environments,” he said on Channels TV’s Politics Today on Tuesday.

“These laws when put in place, will not only regulate the environment but will also create room for value addition both in the oil-bearing communities, the oil-producing companies and government royalties. So, it is going to be a value chain. The benefits are going to be so enormous”.

The Governor commended President Buhari for signing the bill into law, noting that it had been a struggle over the years.

“I must say that the enactment and signing to law of the Petroleum Industry Bill by Mr President is a very welcome development for which we must congratulate him.

“Recall that the past assemblies even before I joined the senate during the 7th National Assembly, made efforts to amend the Petroleum Act which was enacted in 1969 which also became analog but it has not been possible. That the President has been able to break this jinx is a welcome development for which we must congratulate him”.

The oil-producing states in Nigeria are Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Ondo, Abia, Imo and Lagos.

Read Also: PIB: 3% Allocation Not Ideal Compensation For Host Communities, Says Rewane

 

Petroleum Industry Bill 2021 (Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television)

 

According to a statement signed by presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina on Monday, the President signed the bill into law while in quarantine, after his arrival from the United Kingdom.

“The ceremonial part of the new legislation will be done on Wednesday, after the days of mandatory isolation would have been fulfilled,” the statement said.

The Petroleum Industry Act provides legal, governance, regulatory and fiscal framework for the Nigerian petroleum industry, the development of host communities, and related matters.

The Senate had passed the bill on July 15 and the House of Representatives followed suit on July 16.

The act is expected to replace the obsolete Petroleum Act of 1969.

With the passage of the bill, three per cent will now be allocated to host communities from the oil companies in those communities.

The percentage has, however, remained a subject of heated debate with many saying it is too little.

The three per cent is different from the 13% derivation fund which is paid to oil-producing communities from the federation account.

Imo Govt Seals Rochas College In Owerri

 

A photo combination of Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma and Senator Rochas Okorocha.
A photo combination of Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma and Senator Rochas Okorocha.

 

The Imo State Government on Tuesday sealed off the premises of the Rochas Foundation College in Owerri.

The College is owned by former Imo State Governor Rochas Okorocha.

According to the state government, the College was sealed off to implement the recommendation on a white paper report by a Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Recovery of Lands and other related matters which alleged that Mr Okorocha had acquired the property illegally.

READ ALSO: President Buhari To Meet With ALL Senators On Tuesday

Mr Okorocha, who is currently serving in the ninth Senate, was Governor of Imo State between 2011 and 2019.

In February, he was arrested by police for allegedly breaking into a government-sealed building in Owerri but was subsequently released.

He has denied any wrongdoing and accused current Imo state Governor Hope Uzodinnma of a witch-hunt.

Illegally acquired?

Tuesday’s seal-off was implemented by a task force set up by the state government to implement a judicial commission’s white paper recommendations.

According to the state government, the white paper report recommended that the state government should recover the property which, according to the state masterplan, was owned by the Imo State Broadcasting Corporation, serving as the staff quarters.

The Imo state government sealed off Rochas Foundation College on July 13, 2021.
The Imo state government sealed off Rochas Foundation College on July 13, 2021.

 

However, according to the state government, the staff were forcefully ejected and the property was illegally acquired by then Governor Okorocha to build his Rochas Foundation College.

Meanwhile, Okorocha has described the action of the state government as a political vendetta urging the Uzodimma-led administration to face governance and stop any vendetta mission against perceived opposition.

Speaking through his spokesperson Sam Onwuemeodo, Okorocha said the true position is that some part of the land was reallocated legally to Rochas Foundation by the Ministry of Land which followed due process.

According to Onwuemeodo, over 4,000 children from Imo state are enjoying free education in the school.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had also sealed off the premises in 2019.

Nobody Can Tell Me Why APC Should Not Win Next Election – Uzodinma

 

The Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma says no one at moment can give him a reason why the All Progressives Congress (APC) will not be reelected in the next general elections. 

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday at the Presidential Villa after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Governor Uzodinma challenged Nigerians to give reasons why the ruling party should not win the 2023 polls.

Uzodinma said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has performed well and should be applauded.

While responding to a question of whether more governors from the Southeast would defect to the APC, the governor said, “Not just from the South-east, many governors in Nigeria will join the APC”.

READ ALSO: Suspension: FG Should Have Sued Twitter, Not Place A Ban – Falana

Imo APC Faction Expels Hope Uzodinma
A file photo of Governor Hope Uzodinma.

“Part of the problem of this government is the deliberate attempt by some group of people to pull (it) down.

“Because nobody is telling me that this government is not performing, that salaries are not being paid or that the roads are not being constructed or the railway is not going or the various intervention funds to empower our youths are not being given out.

“Nobody has come in concrete terms to accuse this government of one failure or the other. All we hear is that herdsmen and farmers are fighting and for that reason, 200 people are kidnapped. People are shot down there, people are killed there.

“What do you want the government to do? We must be realistic. I believe in pragmatism. I believe in doing things right. Can anybody come and tell me one, two, three, four reasons why this APC should not win in the next election?

“All I hear is that because of insecurity this, insecurity that. But you send people out in the night to go and cause trouble and use it in the day to blame the government,” the governor said in reference to the high rate of insecurity in the country.

‘I Alone Cannot Restore Security In Imo’

Speaking on the crisis in Imo state, Governor Uzodinma called on fellow leaders to join hands to bring an end to the insecurity in the state, noting that himself alone cannot restore security.

He appealed to all stakeholders including traditional rulers, religious leaders, and politicians, to engage more with the issues in order to engender peace in the country.

He also stated that former political office holders who have failed to speak out against the security crisis in the country have questions to answer.

According to him, if all leaders speak out condemning perpetrators of insecurity, a lot of changes would be visible.

“Anybody worth his onions as a leader should be able to speak out. How many of them are speaking out.

“How many of them are condemning what is going on. rather what you see is leaders fanning the embers of insecurity, the governor said.

He also stated that anyone found culpable in the destruction of government property would be made to face the full wrath of the law.