•Calls on APC, PDP to produce presidential candidates from S-East
•Gunmen on rampage in Imo, kill two, behead one, kidnap one
•Wrote petroleum product dealers to part with N20m
•As Police arrest 9 suspected kidnappers, rescue 2 victims
By Chidi Nkwopara, Chinonso Alozie & Juliet Umeh, OWERRI
The Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, yesterday, said that the reason he has not named those behind insecurity in Imo State was to allow security agencies complete their investigation.The governor disclosed this in Lagos during a media parley.
Uzodimma spoke at the time gunmen went on rampage in Imo State killing two, beheading one and kidnapping one, just as they wrote petroleum products marketers to part with the sum of N20 million if they were interested in continuing with their businesses.
While responding to questions from journalists, Uzodimma said: “If you watch the last quarterly stakholders’ meeting held in Owerri where I was to name some of those suspected to be behind the insecurity in Imo State, in that meeting, I did say that the security agencies pleaded that because investigation is still going on, it will be too early for me to begin to name anybody.
“I explained that day that I will allow them to complete their job. The last time I contacted them, they asked for two more weeks. l do hope that in two weeks, the information will be ready and it will be made public to Nigerians.”
Speaking on South East producing the next Nigerian President, the governor called on the two big political parties to feature candidates from the South East to allow equity, justice and fairness.
He said: “I know that in the South East today, we desire to produce the president of Nigeria but we will not do it alone. We need the other political zones and other political parties to work with us.
“If you recall, in 1999, after the annulment of June 12 election, it was the decision of the national political leadership of Nigeria that the South West produced the President.
“Part of what cooled the tension in the Southwest was allowing them to produce the President and then, there were two leading political parties. Both political parties worked internally to produce two presidential candidates that came from the South West. That meant that which ever party that won the election, the President would have come from the South West.
“Now, the situation is repeating itself. There’s a national sympathy for South East to produce the president and what will make it work is for the two ruling political parties to produce candidates from the south East.
“Let PDP and APC also produce candidates from the South East. That way, we would have decentralized this power sharing in a manner that it has become all inclusive and justice and equity would have been seen to be done,” Uzodimma appealed
Gunmen on rampage in Imo
While Uzodimma was speaking, Vanguard gathered that gunmen at the weekend ran rampage in Imo, operating in Ihitte Uboma, Obowo and Ehime Mbano local government areas of the state.
It was gathered that in Ogbotoukwu community, Obowo local council area, a security personnel of an MTN facility, close to St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Mr Nwokem Nwokennanna, was reportedly called on his phone and asked to bring the keys to the facility for the refuelling of the generating sets.
Nwokennanna, who was also a traditional bone setter, “immediately moved to the facility on his motorcycle and as soon as he alighted from his bike, the criminals opened fire on him at point-blank range.”
Continuing, the villager, who recounted the incident on strict grounds of anonymity, said that “while the man died on the spot, other people, who heard the gunshots, scampered for safety.”
Similarly, some unidentified gunmen reportedly stormed the rural Umudibia Alaiyi Umualumaku Umueze autonomous community where they beheaded one Emmanuel Nwokenkwo and disappeared with his head.
Nwokenkwo’s headless remain was said to have been deposited in Alanwemadu Morgue, Umuezeala Owerri, while another vigilante officer was killed in his office, in Oriendu Market.
In yet another incident, a retired teacher turned politician, Mr Collins Nwachukwu, was said to have been abducted in broad daylight in his wife’s shop at Umuokoro Lowa, Ihitte Uboma local government area of the state.
At the time of filing this report, Nwachukwu was yet to regain his freedom.
Also weekend, unidentified criminals reportedly wrote petroleum products marketers in Isinweke, the headquarters of Ihitte Uboma local government area, to part with the sum of N20 million if they were interested in continuing with their businesses or close shops immediately.
A marketer who did not want his name in print confirmed receipt of the letter, but despite pressure mounted on him, bluntly refused to disclose his next line of action.
Meanwhile, the Imo State Police Command, yesterday, said it had arrested nine suspected kidnappers and freed two of their victims, Dominic Chukwuma and Silas Nnawubia in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State.
The Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Micheal Abattam, who disclosed this in a statement after parading the suspects in the Police headquarters in Owerri, said the two victims were kidnapped on 30th April 2022.
He said: “Following a report of the kidnapping of one Dominic Chukwuma and Silas Nnawubia respectively, received by the Command’s Anti-Kidnapping Unit on 30th April 2022, the operatives immediately swung into action after gathering both credible and technical intelligence where the radar revealed the location of the criminal’s hideout in Ahiazu Mbaise LGA of Imo State.
“The police operatives on 5/5/2022 at about 23:50 hours stormed the kidnapper’s den and arrested one Obinna Onuoha, aged 35 years, a native of Umuegwu Mpam; and Igbokwe Joseph, aged 35 years, a native of Umuchoko Ihitte Aforukwu, both natives of Ahiazu Mbaise LGA of Imo State and the victim held in captive was gallantly rescued unhurt.”
The Police continued: “In the course of interrogation, the suspects confessed to the crime of kidnapping and revealed how they escaped from Imo Correctional Centre jailbreak of 5th of April, 2021 and after they escaped, they got a safe hideout in Ahiazu Mbaise, formed a kidnap syndicate with their hideouts in strategic areas in the state. And they have been the ones involved in most of the deadly kidnapping incidents recorded in the state.”