From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma, on Wednesday, said the Indigenous People of Biafra’s (IPOB) sit-at-home order was not successful because the residents on their shunned it and went about their normal businesses.
The Governor said this while fielding questions from State House Correspondents after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
According to him, only a constituted authority, like his can give order on when people can stay away from their work or businesses and they will obey.
He said it is because people in the state do not obey IPOB’s orders that normal activities have continued to flourish in Imo.
“To the extent of what I know on the sit-at-home order, even the people on their own called off the sit-at-home order. In Imo State, it is not being observed. People are doing their businesses.
“Most people in Imo are business men and women who depend on their daily activities and income to feed their families. So, they cannot afford to sit at home idle and allow hunger to ravage the state.
“Southeast has a pan-leadership organization, which is in charge of culture and social activities, Ohanaeze Ndigbo. So, I don’t want to speak for them and I know in Imo State, there is only one Governor and only the governor can order, working with other members of the government, that people should sit at home and it will be obeyed.
“I don’t want to sit here and recognise that there is any order outside the government of Imo State because there is a government. IPOB is not a government in Imo State. Imo State government has not authorised anything at all. And like I did say few minutes ago, in Imo State, people are going about their businesses. Workers are going to work and normal business activities are ongoing. And for now, I told you that Imo State is relatively calm.
“In Imo State, students sat for all the exams. They were not affected and I don’t think the sit-at-home works in Imo State. If you check your facts very well, they will tell you that our students sat for the exams and the exams went on”, he said.
Uzodinma speaking on the normalcy that has returned to State in terms of security, said that the state has become the most peaceful in the country to the point that Grade A football matches now take place there at night with nobody molested.
“Before the end of last league period, we did have a football match between Heartland FC and Adamawa United Football Club in the night. And people witness this all over the world.
“That will tell you the extent of friendliness and good environment for businesses in Imo State that two big clubs like that played a football match in the night. Our people went to watch the match and got home without anybody molesting them.
“The business of government is the protection of lives and property. And we must act as a government and live up to the responsibilities of government. So, we try to maintain law and order and condemn illegal and criminal activities, and made those who were apprehended to face the law.
“So, I think that with the political will and cooperation of people, particularly our traditional leaders, we have been able to, a reasonable extent, manage to control criminality, and illegality in Imo State.
“At the height of this incident, the prison yard, the correctional centre facility in Owerri was broken, all the suspects and prisoners escaped. Some of them are still at the fringes doing what they know how to do, while government is working hard to do what they are supposed to do. So, in no small time, I’m sure and almost certain that normalcy will return completely 100% to Imo State”, he said.
The governor admonished Nigerians to refrain from acts that can cause instability, saying that they should not take laws into their hands even when aggrieved.
“So many people are taking laws into their hands and some aggrieved people have resorted to self-help. Illegality upon illegality is still illegality. But all we try to do is to appeal to our people because collectively, I am almost certain that if all of us agree today that unknown gunmen and bandits must stop, they will stop.
“Somehow, some people tacitly and otherwise are still allowing and encouraging these criminals to harass and intimidate innocent citizens”, he said.
Commenting on the forthcoming governorship election in Anambra State, the Governor expressed optimism that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would win the election.
“You know our President. You know him (Mr President), he will only encourage you. He doesn’t interfere. We are in charge of the campaign. I’m the Chairman of the Council. And the good news is that the political leadership in Igbo land has resolved to be part of the federal government, to participate at the national level, to live the provincial championship to national championship.
“So, what we have decided to do is to ensure that we embrace the ruling party, the APC. And we are taking the message to Anambra. And by the grace of God, Anambra people will buy the message and Igbo land will be recovered”, he said.
On the requests he made to President Buhari, he said “last time I spoke with you, I did tell you that part of my requests to Mr. President was to intervene on some ecological issues in the state. To the glory of God, Mr. President graciously approved it.
“As I speak to you, contracts for three erosion sites will be awarded any moment from now. And then Mr. President has also approved the release of funds for payment of the project to the contractors. So, it is a good one” he said.
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