…Gives youths 7-day ultimatum to surrender arms in their custody
…. Directs immediate palliatives for community
Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma on Tuesday visited Aborshi Autonomous Community in Izombe in Oguta local government area to assess the level of damage caused by the recent face-off between youths from the community and security operatives that resulted in the loss of lives and destruction of property.
Addressing the community made up of the traditional, political, business, women and youth leaders at Central School Aborshi, the Governor expressed shock at the level of destruction following the mayhem and tasked all on peace or be ready for the consequences of recourse to violence.
The governor blamed what happened on the activities of dissident and criminal- minded youths who have decided to make themselves lawless, including going to the extreme of attacking the security operatives who were sent to the community to protect them.
Governor Uzodimma said he was “highly pained because Izombe is not supposed to be known from the negative point of view.”
The governor had asked: “Where is the problem coming from? Where did Izombe people get it wrong and who are these youths and young men painting Izombe black? Where are the parents of these youths? Where are the leaders of Izombe?”
Governor Uzodimma told the audience that a situation where criminal-minded young men have taken over affairs in the community and become uncontrollable is not good and “that is why the communities here are suffering today.”
He regretted the death of the soldiers and consequently, heavy damage to property of innocent citizens and asked both the Military and the people of Izombe to bury the hatchet, sheathe their swords and pursue peace.
To achieve sustainable peace, the Governor informed the audience that Government with set up a Committee to look at the level of destruction, its impact on the people and community and find a way to assist them.
He immediately directed the ISOPADEC Managing Director, Chief Charles Orie to quickly send relief materials to the area to cushion the effects of the destruction suffered by the people.
His words: “Izombe must be peaceful. Imo State must be peaceful to attract development and prosperity. Nigeria must be peaceful.”
Governor Uzodimma who noted that most of the criminal-minded Izombe youths were being used by politicians appealed to them in particular and all yours in Imo State people in general, to return weapons that are still in their possession within seven days from now or regret not doing so.
The governor who also appealed to the military authorities to “forgive and forget,” equally appealed to the politicians, traditional rulers, women and youth leaders to think of working together to bring development to Izombe, Imo State and Nigeria.
Before Governor Uzodimma left the people he asked those who ran away from the community to return home and reassured them that “there will be no more killings and molestations,” and that “what happened will never repeat itself again.”
The Governor who had earlier visited the Palace of the traditional ruler of Aborshi Autonomous Community, HRH Eze Pius Muforo said his visit to the community was “a condolence visit to commiserate with the people of Aborshi and the entire people of Izombe Community over what happened.”
Briefing the Governor on what transpired, a community leader in Izombe, General Kalu Anthony Egwuagu (Rtd.) expressed delight at the visit of Governor Uzodimma, describing it as “a soothing-balm on the wound being nursed by both Izombe people and the Military.”
Gen. Egwuagu said the circumstances surrounding the mayhem was quite unfortunate and thanked the Commandant, 34 Artillery Brigade Obinze, Brig. Gen. S. B Utsha “for having a listening ear which led to the halt in the continued destruction in the Community.”
He assured the Governor and people of Imo State on behalf of his people, that “such will not repeat itself again in Izombe.”
Eze Muforo who welcomed the Governor to his palace prayed for peace in Aborshi and Imo State and requested for Government’s assistance over the huge loss his community had suffered from the mayhem.
The Traditional Prime Minister of Aborshi, Chief Obilor Ukachukwu who painted a gory picture of the incident noted that “the regrettable situation has brought untold hardship” to his people as “the reprisal attack resulted in the burning of houses of natives who are living at home and in the Diaspora.”
He however thanked the Governor for the visit, saying it will go a long way in assuaging their pains.
The Governor was accompanied on the visit by the Deputy Governor, Prof Placid Njoku, the Chief of Staff, Barr Nnamdi Anyaehie, members of the State House of Assembly, members of the State Executive Council, and all Members of the State Security Council, led by the Commander, 34 Artillery Brigade Obinze, Imo State.
Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser to the Governor