OPEN LETTER TO IMO STATE GOVERNOR, HOPE UZODINMA

BY DONS EZE

Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma,

Executive Governor of Imo State

Your Excellency Sir, I am constrained to write this open letter to you in view of what we hear have been happening in Imo State under your watch. Since this year, virtually all stories coming from our dear Imo State have been on the negative side – military invasion and bombardments, burning down of police formations, jailbreaks, etc.

We wonder when the jolly good people of Imo State, known to be very friendly, convivial, full of life and enjoyment, have suddenly turned to become aggressive, combative and war-like. Every now and then, we hear about the booming of guns and the flying of dangerous weapons in our dear Imo State, with many people running helter-skelter for their dear lives, and we are worried.

Your Excellency, we hear that some people are anxious to make Imo State to exchange position with Borno State as a constant theatre of war, and that very soon we would be witnessing heavy military presence and bombardments in that state. We do not know the authenticity of this report, whether true or false, all we know is that the present situation of things in Imo State does not give us any joy.

This year alone, we could count at least three instances when the people of Imo State had had serious encounters with the Nigerian military, and on each occasion, the people had come out worsted, leaving in their trails, ugly and horrific experiences, in particular, loss of precious lives and destruction of valuable property.

Your Excellency, you would recall that on January 25, this year, the Nigerian military had deployed soldiers and helicopters in Orlu Local Government Area in search of operatives of Eastern Security Network (ESN), an arm of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). They dropped bombs, shot sporadically, and in the process, killed many people, with several others wounded.

Your Excellency Sir, we do not know whether it was by your permission, or the man was misquoted, that one of your lieutenants, Cyprian Akaolisa, who is the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, had claimed that the Imo State Government was responsible for inviting the military to slaughter the people of Imo State.

The man was quoted to have said that the Imo State government was “working with the army to flush out and attack ESN officers from the bushes where they are operating,” and described the Eastern Security Network operatives as “hoodlums”, who would be treated as “murderers”.

We had waited for Your Excellency to disown the Commissioner and his statement, but since we did not hear from you, we take it to mean that you were in agreement with what he had said. That is to say, that your government invited Nigerian soldiers to kill the very people you took the oath to protect. Quite unfortunate.

We were thrown aback when we watched Your Excellency, after visiting Mr. President, to actually claim that you were the one who invited the military to descend on the people of Imo State. We wondered why a loving father would so openly disown his children and give them out to the enemy to slaughter, no matter how irritable their actions might seem to be.

Your Excellency Sir, we are at pains to understand why you would want the death of members of Eastern Security Network who were not disturbing anybody, but who were guiding the forests against criminal elements who were hiding there to perpetrate crimes, and to make life miserable for the people: who kill, maim, and rape women, destroy their crops and their farmlands.

While we do not, in any way, support any form of criminality, we are however not comfortable with the ease at which conclusion is always reached to attribute any form of breach of peace in the South East on members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its security outfit, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).

It was perhaps, following your example, that the recently sacked Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, hastily in less than 24 hours, carried out investigations and concluded it, by blaming the attacks on Imo State Police Command Headquarters and the Owerri Correctional Prison, on IPOB/ESN, even though you have now made a U-Turn, by accusing “aggrieved politicians”, of being responsible for the Owerri mayhem.

As you were quoted to have said in a recent television interview: “Their (attackers’) tactics is that they try to identify grievances of people in a particular area. If it is in Imo State and probably there are some IPOB people who are not happy, they hire hoodlums from outside Imo State, they bring them in pretending to be IPOB and they commit these crimes and they go away.“So, it is not about IPOB.

“Yes, we agree, we have aggrieved IPOB members but I can tell you those who are doing this destruction, most of them were brought in from outside Imo State. What is important for Nigerians to know is the plot by a group of aggrieved politicians to destabilise the government of APC (All Progressives Congress).

“I have done some thorough investigation and I have some credible lead as to those who are sponsoring these activities of these hoodlums. I don’t want to pre-empt the investigations of other security agencies, but I can tell you we are working hard to ensure the sponsors of this dastardly acts must be brought to book”.

This is very good Your Excellency, and since you already know the sponsors of the dastardly acts, we believe that by now, you must have turned their names to the security agencies so that, in your words, they would “be brought to book.”

That was how somebody told us the other day, that they know the sponsors of Boko Haram and that they would soon publish their names. We are still waiting for that publication.

Again, Your Excellency, since you know that some people were nursing grievances against your government, we would like to know how far have you gone in addressing those grievances so that people would begin to appreciate your administration? Or, do you think that the best way would be to continue to alienate them from your administration?

Your Excellency Sir, is it true that you already had credible information about plans by some people to attack the Imo State Police Command Headquarters and the Owerri Correctional Prison, but that you did nothing, or ignored the report?

The report claimed that the DSS “provided actionable intelligence report to the Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, and the State Commissioner of Police, a week before the attack on the Correctional Centre and the Police Headquarters. The same intelligence report was repeatedly sent 72 hours and 24 hours before the attack, but both the State Governor and the Police Commissioner failed to act on this reports until the mayhem, which led to loss of lives and property”.

Were this allegation to be true, Your Excellency, which we have not heard you deny, who then, would be blamed? Obviously, it must be those who were availed of the planned attack, who had power to forestall it, but who failed to do anything.

In other words, Your Excellency, we would want both you, as the Chief Security Officer of Imo State, and the State Police Commissioner, who were availed of credible information, to take the blame for what happened in Imo State, a few days ago.

We would also want you to educate us more on the Owerri mayhem, since the whole thing is still foggy to us. It may not be enough to simply blame it on IPOB/ESN or the “aggrieved politicians”. That would be simply begging the question. For us, we are beginning to smell some rats, to see the hand of Esau, and the voice of Jacob, in the whole game.

Until then, Your Excellency, remember that each and everyone of us has date with history.

Dr. Dons Eze, KSJI

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