Pained by the killing of security operatives and destruction of property at Izombe in Oguta Local Council of Imo State at the weekend, Governor Hope Uzodimma has vowed to unmask the perpetrators of the mayhem and bring them to justice.
He also promised to set up a panel to look into the causes of the crisis and make recommendations that will help stop further occurrence.
Addressing newsmen, yesterday, in the company of military and police representatives, the governor expressed dismay over the tragedy, particularly a situation where bandits confronted the military patrol, abducted and killed two soldiers, made away with their rifles and burnt their vehicle.
His words: “The recent happenings have brought to the fore the state’s earlier directive that anybody, no matter how highly placed, who is in possession of any weapon should return it to the security agencies.
“Regrettably, the time given for such had elapsed. Therefore, anybody still keeping any weapon runs the risk of being arrested and prosecuted.”
Uzodimma warned that his administration would go out to fully implement that directive and ensure that all bandits, no matter their location, were smoked out and brought to book.
Noting that “it is no longer pardonable” for anybody or group to take the law into their own hands, the governor regretted that banditry, violence, kidnapping and other forms of criminality had been on the increase since the jailbreak in Owerri that saw criminals melt into the streets.
“The evidence of their activities is manifested in what happened at Izombe, where one of those who confronted the military was an escapee from Owerri Prisons. Fortunately, or otherwise, the hoodlum was killed by the soldiers in the confrontation,” he noted.
Sending his condolences to the families of the deceased soldiers and statesmen, who died in the course of service to their fatherland, he assured that their sudden death would not be allowed to go in vain.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary and Media Adviser, Oguwike Nwachuku, yesterday, the governor reiterated that his government would do all within its powers to support the security agencies, no matter what it would cost, to ensure that peace fully returns to Imo.
The governor also promised to visit Izombe to get first hand information of what transpired, with a view to setting up a commission to look into the causes and effect of what transpired.