LP Lashes Imo Gov Over killing of security agents, burning of businesses, houses in the State

INEC cancels election in Imo State, rescues 19 kidnapped staff

The Labour Party has condemned the killing of security agents in Imo State by so called unknown gunmen and the subsequent burning of houses and businesses in Ehime Mbano Local Government Area by soldiers.

Governor Hope Uzodimma was characterized by the party as being ignorant of the killings and destruction occurring in the state in a statement released on Saturday by National Vice Chairman (South East), Chief Innocent Okeke.

The PUNCH reported that on Tuesday, September 19, 2023, unidentified gunmen attacked and killed five security agents working for the Joint Task Force during Operation Search and Flush before setting fire to their two patrol cars in the Obowo community of the state’s Ehime Mbano Local Government Area.

In what appeared to be a retaliatory attack on the community, soldiers of the Nigerian Army allegedly later returned and set fire to markets, homes, and businesses.

In response to both attacks, the LP denounced the daily rampant killings in Imo state that lack any form of restraint, noting that the most recent incident in Ehime Mbano was the culmination of it all.

According to the party, “the purpose of governance becomes futile if the lives of both the governed and the security agencies are not ensured as the case in Imo state. The state has regrettably descended into a state of lawlessness and total anarchy where individuals are uncertain about their safety for another thirty minutes without nursing the fears of death.

Despite these distressing circumstances, the Nigerian government and the Imo State government have failed to take proactive measures to forestall further occurrences and adequately protect its citizens. They passively observe as lives are being destroyed daily.

“On Tuesday, 19th September, in Ehime Mbano, security officers who were recruited by the federal government of Nigeria were killed, humiliated, and their bodies burnt beyond recognition. These officers had families who depended on them for daily survival, and it was unjust that they had to answer national calls with their lives. Unfortunately, this is one of many incidents in Imo state that have been underreported and uninvestigated, and no significant measures are being put in place to forestall further occurrence.”

The party regretted that instead of finding lasting solutions to the problems, the “gospel of re-election is the only thing paramount on the lips of the government of Imo state, while the people are left defenceless.”

It added, “The high level of governmental intimidations, harassment, and threats to any group or individual who tries to come up with alternative ideas is another issue of concern today.

“It is beyond comprehension that the government of Imo State has been unable to identify the group responsible for these atrocities over the years and find a way to engage them positively. Instead, all “we hear is the term “unknown gunmen,” leaving one to question the effectiveness of the state’s intelligence departments.

“The government of Imo State must identify the source of these unknown gunmen within their territory, what their agitations are, and how the government can engage them in dialogue.

“Over 14 Local Government Areas out of the 27 in Imo State have been overrun by insecurity and killings, with death becoming a normal way of life. Unfortunately, the government of Imo State seems more interested in reelection than finding solutions to this dire situation.”

The party, however, condemned the reprisal attack by soldiers on defenceless citizens of Ehime Mbano, describing it as horrendous.

On issues such as this, intelligence should be gathered, and the security can’t get credible intelligence from the people by burning their shops and inflicting pain on them. Even in the heat of provocation, our gallant officers must exercise restraint and control their emotions. Theirs is to protect lives and property, not the reverse.”

LP asked the federal government to take a special interest in the current security situation in Imo State and the broader South East region, adding that the restoration of peace in this region would undoubtedly contribute significantly to the overall recovery of the Nigerian economy.

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