Says security in state under control, no more sit-at-home in Imo

As Buhari gives nod for state to host Army Day Celebration

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru – Abuja

The Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, Tuesday, said that the security situation in his state has not degenerated to that level of asking the citizens to bear arms to defend themselves.

The governor also said that the security situation in the state was under control and that citizens of the state no longer obey the Monday sit-at-home order declared by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in solidarity with the Mazi Nnamdi Kanu who is on incarceration at the Department of State Service, DSS, facility in Abuja.

Speaking to State House correspondents after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Senator Uzodimma said he got the approval of the President to host the Army Day Celebration in the state, stressing that the measure would further improve the security.

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On the security situation in Imo, the governor said the security agencies in Imo were on top of the situation.

He asserted that even though he was not in Zamfara and could not say why exactly the government was making the move, his own administration was in control of the security agencies in the State.

On his meeting with the President, Uzodimma said, “Well, basically I came to see Mr. President and to thank him for his gracious approval that Army Day celebration be held in Owerri, South East of the country.

“That of course we know will strengthen the measures that are already on ground to contain banditry and insecurity in the region. So for me it is a good thing and for the people of Imo State, we are indeed very delighted for that.”

On what the leaders of the southeast are doing over the negative effect of the sit-at-home order on businesses in the region as well as their alleged siddon look approach, he said there is no siddon-look in the southeast

He said, “The governors in the southeast are all working together to ensure that security is guaranteed for people to go about their businesses. The sit-at home order is not operational in Imo State, it is not working in Owerri and sometimes, some parts of the southeast where it’s still in operation, the governors are also working in synergy to ensure that it becomes a thing of the past.”

Asked whether he would support the proposal by the Zamfara State governor that asked individuals to procure licenses to own guns in the face of the insecurity, he said the security situation in Zamfara was not the same in Imo.

“Well, the situation in Zamfara is not the same as Imo State. However, if the governor called for individuals to apply for licenses, I think government will only issue the license to a qualified and eligible candidate, provided he is the approving authority that is responsible for the issuance of licenses that will issue the license.

“But I don’t think there is need for individuals, unauthorized people to carry arms in Imo State because the situation in Imo State currently is being managed and we have seen relative peace in the past weeks and the normal businesses incrementally have resumed.

“The reason the governor is asking for gun licenses for individuals is because the security services are no longer operational and that they cannot continue to live with a situation where their people are murdered everyday and they can’t do anything.”

Further asked whether he was saying that in Imo state, security services are up and doing and there is no need for citizens to prepare to defend themselves, Uzodimma said, “I didn’t hear the Zamfara governor say that and if he did, I’m not in Zamfara State to know what exactly is the situation. However, I don’t think that the security situation is beyond our security services.

“In Imo State, the security agencies have risen to the occasion and we’re in charge of the security  and like I told you earlier, the agencies are working in synergy and the situation has been controlled to the barest minimum.

“Currently, businesses have resumed and people are going about their day to day businesses without any molestation. So I think that we’re all working in an accord to ensure that nationally, the security situation is improved.”

Also asked what he would be hoping to see after the Army Day Celebration, he replied:

“Only two days ago, I have already called on the criminal gangs in Imo State, the unknown (gunmen) and bandits who are hiding in the forest and in the bush to come out and I granted a 10 day period, during which if they come out and the lay down their arms, that we will grant them pardon and as at this morning I’m told that some people are already surrendering their arms.

“So it is a good development. Because we have to attack the situation from all fronts and ensure that innocent citizens are not molested.”

On whether there was any new information on the arrest of Ahmed Gulak, the governor said, “Well, we are waiting for situation reports, as soon as it is ready I’m sure it will be made available to us, and I’ll make that also open to you people.”

Asked if he was not worried that some senators at National Assembly are leaving his party, the All Progressives Congress, despite his boast that the party will be victorious in next year’s election, he said that for the few that left, there are some others who left other parties and joined the APC. “So one cancels the other.”

On how concerned he was over the alleged deliberate attacks on Catholic Priests, he said, “Regrettably, of recent some Catholic priests became victims to the banditry saga in Nigeria. I’m not aware that is deliberate because no report has said that.

“But I think that it is an unfortunate incident which is condemnable here and everywhere. And it’s not as if that other people being killed are not important but we as Catholics, condemn that. And we detest any form of violence or taking lives.

“The Church is against that. Islam is also against that and our local tradition is also against that. So nobody will stand to tolerate any arrangement by anybody, man or woman taking human lives. it is condemnable. I’m not in support of that and I’m calling on security agencies to do everything humanly possible to fish out those who are behind this and bring them to book.”

The governor also responded to the memo by one of his aides that recently resigned from his cabinet who accused him of running undemocratic government and excluding those that have laboured with him as well as as not funding his office.

The aide, Dr. Batos Nwadike asked the governor to refund him over N77 million.

He said, “You know, politics and leadership is a business that thrives on ideology. Sometimes, you hire aides who by our own primary assessment, you think would be able to fit into the ideology and your vision for your people.

“So if the way things are going to the best of their own idiosyncrasies is not consistent with the thought process. It means that they are licensed to try their luck in another place.

“So this aide who accused his boss of non inclusiveness, unfortunately, we’re not running a limited liability company, where shareholders must all vye for. So I accepted his resignation and I wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors and that bring the matter to a close.

“I don’t know how I will owe N77.2 million to an aide, you talking about my political adviser, I don’t know what he sold to me that I bought.”

On the controversy surrounding the certificate of the presidential candidate of the APC that has refused to go away, he said, “well, all the things so mentioned are entire party challenges that will be resolved.

“But for my presidential candidate, the issue of certificate shouldn’t even arise. In 1999 he contested elections became the governor of Lagos, in 2003 he contested election second term governor of Lagos.

“He ran and won as a senator in the country, where record keeping is efficient, and INEC server functional, he doesn’t need to do fresh submission. However, if whatever he supposed to submit is not handy, it is not late yet. I’m sure before the time he will submit whatever is required of him.”

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