Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State says that while he will not tolerate terrorists in any way, he understands that the Federal Government is negotiating with insurgents because President Muhammadu Buhari is a peaceful man.
The Governor spoke on Tuesday to journalists at the State House, Abuja after he met with the President to appraise him of recent developments in Imo State, including the invitation of the army to fish out suspected law breakers in parts of the State.
Asked what he discussed with Buhari concerning the security situation in the country, Uzodinma said: “I informed Mr. President that we are already making progress.
“Of course, you know President is a very peaceful man, the Federal Government may be negotiating with the Boko Haram, but God knows that if I have the opportunity to see any man who is taking lives, I will confront the person head on. That is why we are government.”
The Governor therefore defended his invitation of the army to contain the uprising in Orlu part of Imo State recently, explaining that his action was precautionary in view of the recent experience and the destructions that followed the #EndSARS protests.
He said that the situation in Orlu had gone beyond what could be handled locally, hence his invitation to the military.
According to him: “Immediately after the #EndSARS, we thought it was over. Then, issues of kidnapping, where you know, a Catholic bishop was kidnapped, who was killed. And this militants came out and began to shoot. We’ve lost lives, market women were killed, old women were raped in Orlu area of Imo State and they visited this serious terror on the citizenry.
“And then I came here (Presidential Villa), pleaded with Mr. President for his support and he sent additional support by sending in police and the military also came in. And that is where we are.
“It was on my invitation that the military came. And I did that because I know the situation was beyond the local arrangement, we needed help. And the help was given to us.
“We are a government, it is our responsibility to protect lives. And while we have the Nigerian Army, Nigerian police. We had security challenges, we invited them to go to work.”
The Governor denied that there was an assassination attempt on his predecessor, Rocha’s Okorocha.
“Who will assassinate him? I don’t know about any attempt to assassinated Okorocha. Rather, what I know is that I have no personal issues with Okorocha.
“You will recall that before I became the governor, the Ihedioha administration set up a judicial panel of inquiry to look into acquisitions and allegations of lands, converting government lands to personal property, and then removing private lands from individuals and giving to other individuals.
“The judicial panel of inquiry chaired by a judge met and they concluded our job and a white paper has since been raised.
“You know institutions and agencies that are involved with implementation are doing their job.
“And the only thing I know is that few days ago, one of the properties sealed by government, the former governor, went with his thugs. You people saw it, it was was live. He went there with thugs himself physically, wounded the policemen there, wounded the Civil Defense Civil people, the Civil Defense officer is currently still in the hospital and then broke in and entered.
“Of course, you must have heard him say that he is richer than government and that he is above the law. I am not directly involved. It is a position taken by government. There is a difference between governor and government.
“The government of Imo state sealed a property. And I think that if there is anything anybody consider that is not right, the person should go to court to address the issue. Not to take laws, take to self help.”