As conflicts of interest and insecurity engulf communities in Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta, two oil-rich councils of Imo State, the deputy governor, Gerald Irona, has said that the landlords are not criminals.
Irona made the clarification in his address during the first security summit of the two councils at Oguta Civic Centre over the weekend.
The deputy governor described the summit that was chaired by Gen. Kalu Egwuagu (rtd.) as one that would address security challenges in the areas.
His words, “This summit is aimed at addressing security challenges in the two oil-producing councils of Imo. It is expected that the meeting will identify the causes of insecurity in the area and proffer possible solutions. Today, we shall agree on how best to protect our people.”
According to Irona, the present Imo government has identified some flashpoints, including Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta councils where oil facilities and installations in Imo are located.
“Stakeholders, therefore, appealed to Governor Emeka Ihedioha to approve the re-jigging of the security architecture of the area. His Excellency graciously approved this summit, to create a forum for the discussion of security issues. Efforts are being made to ensure a sustainable offensive against every form of criminality in the state. This summit is one of such efforts.
“Again, the provision/donation of vehicles to law enforcement agencies by Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) to aid their operations is part of the ongoing efforts towards strengthening the security of the area,” he added.
The number two citizen of Imo, who hails from Oguta, exonerated his kinsmen from criminality, stressing that a few bad eggs were making the area notorious by engaging in cultism, kidnapping, oil bunkering, rape, armed robbery and proliferation of arms.
“We shall not allow them to tarnish our collective image. No one shall make us live in fear in our ancestral homes. No one will frighten and threaten us at will again. That era is gone,” he added.
The former federal lawmaker expressed appreciation to Governor Emeka Ihedioha for his show of love to people of the area, describing him as a promise-keeper.