Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has insisted that the opposition was behind incessant attacks in Imo, Kaduna, and Ebonyi states.
This is as he revealed a new twist to the gunmen attack in the state, recently, where an official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was killed and some others sustained injuries.
According to Uzodimma, the actual target of the gunmen, some of whom have been arrested by security agencies and giving useful information, was the Correctional Centre in Okigwe, but that they resorted to attacking the INEC team when they realised their evil plot had been busted.
Uzodimma, who was at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, to brief President Muhammadu Buhari of the security situation in his state, insisted that the opposition group was behind the incessant attacks both in Kaduna and Ebonyi states.
It would be recalled that a staff of INEC was killed in Imo State, while supervising the continuous voter registration exercise.
In the video, which went viral, the gunmen were heard telling the electoral officials that they don’t want any election in the state.
While the state government believes that the atrocities are being perpetrated by the opposition, some others allege that the attacks were been stage managed by the ruling party.
Uzodimma said, “The incident that happened that involved INEC staff, regrettably INEC was not the target. We had the intelligence that the Correctional Centre facility in Okigwe was to be attacked by bandits.
“We recorded their conversation and fortified the Correctional Centre for safety.
And true to it, the bandits approached Okigwe, saw how fortified the place was and tried to escape through Izibugwu and ran into INEC staff, while they were doing continuous voters registration. It was out of that anger and frustration, they attacked them.
“You may have heard that two of the bandits have been arrested and are helping the Nigeria police and Imo State government to do a very thorough investigation and until that is done, I will not say much on that.
“Then on the issue of the sponsors of banditry by APC. I want us to look at the issue of banditry in Nigeria holistically. If anybody’s telling you that the government in power is sponsoring banditry, how and why? “How can anybody even think of a government sponsoring banditry in a country that they it is in charge? If that is correct, assuming that is a possibility.
How many states governed by opposition parties are under this kind of attack that we’ll hear from Kaduna every day.
That we get from Imo State every day; that we get from Ebonyi State. “So if we are the ones, why are we attacking our own states? Why are we going to be enemies and opposition to our own governments? Among those that have been killed and houses that were attacked, how many of those buildings belong to the opposition party? Am I supposed to be attacking or burning down my own house? Or do you think Ebonyi governor will burn down his own house? Or the Kaduna governor burn down facilities in his government.
“So we should be able to ask questions, not only as media practitioners but as Nigerian citizens. Let me use this medium to call on Nigerian politicians to play politics without bitterness and stop this letting blood here and there in the name of looking for power.
“I am no longer in doubt, as to who are the sponsors of banditry in Nigeria.
Those who want to make Nigeria ungovernable cannot be the people governing Nigeria, currently. After all, we don’t have election this year.
Election should start by next year. So for completely one year, APC government is in power and will not encourage any disruption.
So I think we reason and begin to think better than we’re currently doing. Nigerians should be more patriotic, our national interest should be uppermost in our minds”. Asked to comment on his own strategies to bring crime and criminality under control in the state as the substantive governor, he said, “Of course, we are doing everything possible to ensure our region is controlled and contained. Currently, we are on top of the situation, I told you. Government is not sleeping.
“You seem to be in the know of those who are sponsoring these attacks. You refer to them as politicians, opposition? What exactly I’m doing as regards these people since you seem to know them?
“Of course, the matter has been referred to security agencies, we know that we must be law abiding citizens and the government believes in the rule of law, it will do things consistent with due process. So we have given the available information we have to security agencies and we are confident they will work with the information”.