•’Culprits will be punished’
Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma yesterday wept when he visited Izombe community in Oguta Local Government to see the extent of damage done to properties.Three people were feared killed, including two soldiers and a civilian, during last Friday’s clash between oil bunkerers.Uzodimma expressed sadness about the damages done to people’s properties.
He said the perpetrators would be unmasked and brought to justice.He promised that the government would set up a panel of inquiry that would look into the immediate and remote causes of the crisis and make recommendations that would help stop further occurrence.
Addressing reporters in company with military and police authorities, the governor expressed dismay about the sad incident, particularly a situation where bandits confronted the military patrol, burnt their vehicle, abducted and killed two soldiers, making away with their rifles.He said: “The recent happenings have brought to the fore the state’s directive that anybody, no matter how highly placed, who is in possession of any weapon, should return it to the security agencies.”
Uzodimma said: “Regrettably, the time given for such has elapsed. Therefore, anybody still keeping any weapon runs the risk of being arrested, prosecuted and made to face the full weight of the law.”He said: “The government will go out to fully implement the directive and ensure that bandits, no matter where they are, are discovered and brought to book.”The governor said it is no longer pardonable for people to take the law into their hands, adding that banditry, violence, kidnapping and other crimes have been on the increase since the jail break in Owerri.“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 soldiers in the confrontation.”Uzodimma commiserated with the bereaved families and assured them that their death would not be in vain.He said the government would support security agencies to ensure peace returned to the state.The governor promised to visit Izombe to get first-hand information of what transpired, with a view to setting up a commission of inquiry to look into the causes and effects of what transpired.
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