..Says sit-at-home order of no effect
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
GOVERNOR Hope Uzodinma of Imo state, Wednesday said the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has no influence on the people of the state to order for sit-at-home.
The Governor, who spoke to State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said the people of the state do not obey the secessionist group’s order.
He said it was only his government that can give order on when people can stay away from their work or businesses and they will obey.
The governor, who said that the state was relatively calm and people going about that people were going about their businesses without fear because people in the state do not obey IPOB’s orders.
According to him, “IPOB is not a government in Imo state and cannot order people to sit at home,” adding that people who depend on their businesses to make their daily bread cannot afford to stay at home.
The governor pointed out that the state has become the most peaceful in the country to the point that Grade A football matches now take place there at night with nobody molested.
The governor admonished Nigerians to refrain from acts that can cause instability, saying that they should not take laws into their hands even when aggrieved.
He said, “I came to meet the president. This is the opportunity to also brief him on the situation in my state, viz-a-viz operations and activities on insecurity.
” Imo is relatively very calm now, People are going about their businesses without any molestation. The security agencies have risen to the occasion. And the new Imo is bubbling.”
On sit-at-home by IPOB, he said, “To the extent of what I know on the sit-at-home order, even the people on their own called off the sit-at-home order. In Imo State, it is not being observed. People are doing their businesses. Most people in Imo are business men and women who depend on their daily activities and income to feed their families. So, they cannot afford to sit at home idle and allow hunger to ravage the state.”
Asked on his requests from Mr President he said,” Yes, last time I spoke with you, I did tell you that part of my requests to Mr. President was to intervene on some ecological issues in the state. To the glory of God, Mr. President graciously approved it.
” As I speak to you, contracts for three erosion sites will be awarded any moment from now. And then Mr. President has also approved the release of funds for payment of the project to the contractors. So, it is a good one.”
On his take on the anti-grazing law, Uzodimma said, ” Anti-gracing law, I don’t have any law in Imo State for anti-grazing. But what we have done is that we are regulating grazing activities in Imo State under a partnership between our farmers and herders.
“They have signed an MOU in my office and agreed to work together. And both parties are going about their businesses without interfering or causing any grievance or anger to each other.”
On what he can to minimize the effects of sit-at-home that always ground the economy of the state anytime it was observed, he said, “South East has a pan-leadership organization, which is in charge of culture and social activities, Ohanaeze Ndigbo. So, I don’t want to speak for them. And I know in Imo State, there is only one Governor and only the governor can order, working with other members of the government, that people should sit at home and it will be obeyed.
“I don’t want to sit here and recognise that there is any order outside the government of Imo State because there is a government. IPOB is not a government in Imo State. Imo State government has not authorised anything at all.
“And like I did say few minutes ago, in Imo State, people are going about their businesses. Workers are going to work and normal business activities are ongoing. And for now, I told you that Imo State is relatively calm.
“Before the end of last league period, we did have a football match between Heartland FC and Adamawa United Football Club in the night. And people witnessed this all over the world. That will tell you the extent of friendliness and good environment for businesses in Imo State that two big clubs like that played a football match in the night. Our people went to watch the match and got home without anybody molesting them.”
Asked to react to the attack on NDA facility in Kaduna, he said, “The business of government is the protection of lives and property. And we must act as a government and live up to the responsibilities of government. So, we try to maintain law and order and condemn illegal and criminal activities, and made those who were apprehended to face the law.
“So, I think that with the political will and cooperation of people, particularly our traditional leaders, we have been able to, a reasonable extent, manage to control criminality, and illegality in Imo State.
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” At the height of this incident, the prison yard, the correctional centre facility in Owerri was broken, all the suspects and prisoners escaped. Some of them are still at the fringes doing what they know how to do, while government is working hard to do what they are supposed to do.
So, in no small time, I’m sure and almost certain that normalcy will return completely 100% to Imo State.”
On the Anambra Governorship Campaign he said.” You know our President. You know him (Mr President), he will only encourage you. He doesn’t interfere. We are in charge of the campaign. I’m the Chairman of the Council. And the good news is that the political leadership in Igbo land has resolved to be part of the federal government, to participate at the national level, to live the provincial championship to national championship.
“So, what we have decided to do is to ensure that we embrace the ruling party, the APC. And we are taking the message to Anambra. And by the grace of God, Anambra people will buy the message and Igbo land will be recovered.”