*Vows to ensure peace, protection for the innocent
By Favour Goodness
Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo state on Tuesday described the crisis that rocked Izombe Community in Oguta LGA on Friday, October 8, 2021, when soldiers in response to distress call from community members clashed with hoodlums, leading to the loss of one of the hoodlums and two soldiers, as bad and condemnable.
The governor said this during a peace parley with critical stakeholders of the community, including traditional rulers, political leaders, women leaders, youth leaders and others, in Izombe, stressing there was need for peace.
He said: “Unfortunately this has happened. It is so sad. Your Royal Highness, I want to condole with you. We are here on a condolence visit, to identify with my brothers and sisters.
“What happened is very bad. It is condemnable. I must be with you because when I was struggling you were with me – when I was challenged you were with me, so if you are challenged, I will also be with you”.
The governor who took time to inspect the level of damage done in the community assured that the damaged properties would be reconstructed by the state government.
“All those whose properties were destroyed, the committee with some leaders will go round and take inventory – so that we can work out a way to help them reconstruct their homes and move back in.
“The Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission ( ISOPADEC) will bring relief materials to victims. The promise I am making to you is that I will not as your governor allow Izombe people to suffer”, Uzodimma said.
The governor further said he was not in support of the crisis, adding: “I will never support anybody to kill anybody in Imo state. I will set up a committee that will come and assess the damages. Where the government will assist the owners, we will asist.
“I shed tears with what I have seen. A calamity has befallen Izombe. The wealth created by my brothers and sisters are burnt. Only God knows that I regard Izombe the same way I regard Omuma my place of birth.
“Hope Uzodimma is your brother. Please your anger should not boil over. I have told the army that the innocent must have peace. There must be peace in Izombe, there must be peace in Imo S
state – there must be peace in Nigeria.
“Let us all rise in honour of the soldiers and civilians who lost their lives over this crisis. Let us give them a minute of silence. May their souls through the mercy of God rest in peace”.
The governor also tasked the community leaders to rise up and speak up against those fomenting trouble in the communities
“I am pained. Izombe community has stood by me throughout my political career. If there is any community in Imo state where civilization should be resident, it is in Izombe community. Izombe is a community where we have so many wise men.
“Where are our leaders. Why are you keeping quiet. These youths are our brothers. I am not going to kill them. I will want them to repent and tell us why they have taken to crime. We are wasting time with too many quarrels. Let us come together.
“Look at the homes belonging to our kinsmen who suffered to make a living – now burnt. As if it is not enough, they are even afraid to come back home. Must we continue to live this way? Is it not time for us to change? We just have to change because what is bad is bad and what is not acceptable in a society is not acceptable.
“I want to plead with all of us to interrogate our consciences and drop those things that are not helping the society – that will not help our community, and embrace those things that will bring unity, peace and order in the community so that development can come.
“If we don’t have the good environment here, there will be no development. We need prayers – we need the intervention of God”, he said.