Governor Hope Uzodimma has told the traditional rulers, President Generals and youth leaders of the 655 communities in Imo State to take steps to secure their domains against the activities of criminal intruders masquerading as gunmen.
To assist them achieve the directive, the Governor promised to empower all the communities in the State with N1,000 000 each to enable them work out the modalities on how to properly secure themselves against the activities of criminals.
Governor Uzodimma gave the directives on Friday when he had a meeting with all the traditional rulers, town Union Presidents and youth leaders of all the communities in Imo State at the Eze Imo Palace in Owerri.
Concerned about the state of security in the State and the way some traditional rulers have been killed, the Governor charged the Traditional Rulers, Town Union Presidents and Youth Leaders to work together to ensure total security in their palaces and the entire communities in general.
Governor Uzodimma also told them not to obey the sit at home order anymore, but rather rise against it putting, in place measures to secure their lives and property by working collaboratively with the government.
“Go and restore honour and dignity to your palace. Traditional rulers are part of government. Don’t obey the sit at home order. Don’t allow evil men to thrive,” the governor said, and urged the monarchs, the Town Union Presidents and the Youth leaders to work in synergy to achieve the security of their communities.
The Governor informed that President Ahmed Bola Tinubu has approved a meeting of all Security Chiefs to be held in Imo State on Saturday, July 29 2023 and that “the meeting is connected with what we are suffering currently known as sit at home order by one Simon Ikpa living in Finland.”
Governor Uzodimma who thanked the Community Leaders for keeping faith with his government and managing their Communities despite the challenges said he invited them to share with them the ugly happenings in their areas and State in the past three years, sympathize with them and together, work out the modalities on the way forward.
According to him, “it has been a thing of lamentations and horrors, characterized by killings, kidnappings and banditry which are of human factors working with evil men trying to destroy the State.”
The Governor said he shared in their fate, agony and economic strangulations of the entire populace that is made worse by the economic policy of fuel subsidy removal.
Recalling the Stakeholders meeting of a fortnight ago where he reeled out palliatives for the State, he said the workers’ minimum wage which has been raised to N40,000 will take effect this month while his government will in days to come, embark on bulk purchase of commodities as a way of forcing the prices of essential consumables down.
Also, he said plans to expand the urban base of Owerri from the current 15kms to 18kms radius, the consequence of which is the urbanization of the rural areas, are almost complete.
To make movement easy for the people, the governor said that mass transportation system that will involve buses and taxis cross crossing the three zones in the state are to be rolled out to enable the citizens have the opportunity of living in their zones and coming to work in Owerri.
Governor Uzodimma regretted that the traditional rulers have left so many things to chance by not seeing themselves as part of government, hence non state actors are telling them what to do, including telling them to sit at home.
“The Government cannot allow non state actors like Simon Ikpa and his group to dictate when to come out and not to come out. We are not going to allow it to continue.”
The Governor said that his government will from Monday, July 31, 2023 role out programmes in the 655 autonomous communities in Imo State as “Community Security is going to be the new security architecture in Imo State.”
He therefore advised that synergy between the traditional rulers, the town Union Presidents and the youth leaders is key to the success of the new security architecture.
Urging them to forget past misgivings, the governor insists that they must work together either “voluntarily or by coercion.”
The Governor challenged the traditional rulers to go and restore honour to their palaces as well as restore security in their communities, saying “no government is complete without communities and any politics without peace, happiness and security is no good politics.”
He decried a situation he has fought insecurity in the past three years with Imo people’s money, noting that “stimulating economy through attraction of investors and strong institutions has become difficult because of security challenges, therefore we must join hands to stop insecurity.”
In very strong words the Governor said: “Do not obey the sit at home order, rather you should synergize with your people to fight the order.”
To achieve this, he promised to support the communities with funds to help the people. This money, the Governor said, will be provided in tranches for security purposes only, emphasizing that “Community security through the Leaders is the best way to go because we know ourselves at home.’
The Governor told the three arms in the communities to sit together and plan how to secure their communities. To the traditional rulers in particular he warned them not to leave their palaces and pleaded with the PGs and the Youth Leaders to reconcile with their Traditional Rulers and work with them to fight the common enemy because “the Youth Leaders at Home are in a better position to counter the youths in the bush.”
He informed that the Federal Government is losing patience on what is happening in the South East after all the pleading not to embark on only “military options.”
To the Politicians fueling insecurity he reminded them that “we must have Imo State first before emerging to rule Imo State.”
On the Federal Government N8, 000 palliative to each household, the Governor said they have asked the Federal Government to stay action to allow the Governors look at the register a second time and that soon the States will produce and forward their social registers.
He encouraged all to go and register, assuring that arrangements have been made for those who don’t have bank account, to have accounts opened for them.
‘’We are here to work and plead with all to join hands with his government to realize his objectives because the Imo State of three years ago is not the same as today.”
Reacting to the Governors address, Chief Henry Njoku for Owerri Zone, Rt. Hon. Jerry Alagbaso for Orlu zone and Senator Patrick Ndubueze for Okigwe Zone, all acknowledged the sincerity of purpose in the presentations of the Governor and promised to support him fully.
Senator Ndubueze in particular said, “the emphasis on security before politics is because one must have life first before thinking of who or not to lead,” and appealed to all and sundry to work together to save the souls of our youths.
The Chairman of Forum of President Generals, Chief Kingsley Omuruka and that of the Youth Leaders, Mr. John kennedy, all affirmed their total support to the programmes and policies of the Governor and unequivocally assured of working to return the Governor for the second tenure come November 11, 2023.
The Chairman Imo State Elders Council, HRH Eze Cletus Ilomuanya and the Traditional Ruler of Isu Njaba autonomous Community, HRH Eze Osuala expressed their support to the Governor’s policies and programmes and promised to assist in realizing the Charter of Equity to ensure peaceful transition of political power from one zone to the other.