•Imo PDP asks Buhari to set up inquiry into burning of markets, houses in Imo
By Chinonso Alozie
Owerri—Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, yesterday, said a Major of the Nigeria Army has lost his life to illegally manufactured explosives by bandits, in Awo-Idemili in Orsu Local Government Area in the state, while two captains of the Nigeria Army are currently lying at the Intensive Care Unit, ICU, of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.
Governor Uzodimma disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri, while narrating the incident of the Orsu attack that led to the burning of shops last Saturday.
Uzodimma spoke after the Imo State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up an independent inquiry into the alleged burning of ancestral markets, shops and houses in Orsu-Ihiteukwa Community in Orsu council area of Imo State, by suspected members of Ebubeagu security outfit.
Uzodimma said last Saturday’s incident occurred when one of the arrested bandits took the security joint force to Eke Ututu market, in Orsu LGA, where the bandits manufacture illegal explosives and it was uncovered that some of the shops were parked with items used to manufacture the Improvised Explosives Devices, IED. It was then that the security agents set the shops ablaze.
Uzodimma said the major died from last month’s attack, while the two injured captains were attacked in last Saturday’s incident in Orsu-Ihiteukwa.
According to Uzodimma, “You were all witnesses to the insecurity that enveloped Imo State for a period nearing almost three years now. With the daily occurrences of insecurity and wanton destruction of lives and properties in Imo State, we even made a clarion call to communities in Imo State to seek their support to the security of Imo State.
“We even called on these bandits to cease fire and surrender their weapons and discuss with government so that government can work with them in terms of rehabilitation and empowerment.
“Some of them answered the call, surrendered their weapons and talked with the government. We set up a rehabilitation centre where some of these people will be rehabilitated but adamant ones continued visiting mayhem and destroying properties.”
The governor recalled that “Only last month, soldiers on duty in Awo-Idemili, in Orsu local government area were attacked and we lost a major of the Nigeria Army to illegal locally manufactured explosives.
“Also, last Saturday, the joint security force who arrested one of the bandits took the bandit after his confession as to where they operate from and to visit where the local explosives are manufactured. It turned out to be Eke Ututu market. They saw four shops where fertilizer and other electrical gadgets used to manufacture explosives were packed. As I speak to you, the captain who led that operation is now lying critical at the Intensive Care Unit, ICU, FMC Owerri, with another officer, a captain of the Nigeria Army.
“Soldiers were able to recover all these weapons and fertilizer meant to be used to manufacture these locally made explosives and in the process, they burnt down the shops. They were careful and no innocent lives were lost. They were able to destroy these shops where they met these weapons.
“And it pleases some persons, candidates of a political party to condemn the security agencies and even blackmail them and none of them made any attempt to visit the scene,” he said.
Imo PDP asks Buhari to set up inquiry into burning of markets, houses
The PDP, made this call through the State Publicity Secretary, Collins Opuruzor while speaking to newsmen in Owerri, on the Orsu attack.
The main opposition party said it had to speak out because of what it described as the “silence of Senator Uzodimma’s regime,” adding that it is worrisome that the economic activities of the communities were destroyed.
According to the party, “The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo State condemns the bombardment of Orsu-Ihiteukwa, in Orsu Local Government Area of the state, which in its wake reduced to ashes the popular Eke Ututu market and also claimed human lives.
“No security agency has taken responsibility for the attack, though media reports and community sources point out that the operation might have been carried out by the military. What is even more troubling is that some sources have however alleged that the barbarity was perpetrated by Ebubeagu, the rampaging state-sanctioned militia force.
“For the people of Orsu-Ihiteukwa and even neighbouring communities, Eke Ututu is the symbol of economic wellbeing, and it embodies their dreams for a better tomorrow. Today, this source of livelihood for many thousands ofpeople has become a heap of debris.
“Yet, despite the tears, blood and ravages that the incident has wrought upon this hapless community, it is telling that till this moment, the wobbling APC regime in Imo State has not deemed it important to explain to the people what happened and why it happened.
“Imo PDP holds that the silence of the regime of Senator Hope Uzodinma in the face of this unprovoked attack on vulnerable citizens speaks volumes about the depth of disdain which the failed regime has for Imo people. This is a regime that has long abandoned the primary responsibility of government, which is the security of lives and property. The silence is therefore a tacit endorsement of the reprehensible act against the people of Orsu-Ihiteukwa.
“Our Party calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately set up an independent panel of inquiry to unravel the circumstances that led to the dastardly attack on unarmed citizens and bombing of a community market in Orsu-Ihiteukwa and to bring those found culpable to book.
“Imo PDP commiserates with the people of Orsu-Ihiteukwa over this unjustifiable attack. Given the hardship which the destruction of the Eke Ututu market would bring, our Party further calls on the Federal Government to move in expeditiously to facilitate the reconstruction of the razed market and compensate the affected traders,” he said.