Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has challenged the leadership of Security Agencies in the country and those serving in the South East in particular to step up their programmes with the view to saving the South Easterners the embarrassment of sitting at home which non state actors have brought about.
He said that the sit at home has almost crippled the region’s economy, commerce and trade and should not be allowed to continue unattended to.
The Governor made the call when he received in audience the Flag Officer Commanding Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ayuba Chugali and the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 9 Umuahia, Echeng Eyo Echeng, both of who were on a courtesy call at the Government House Owerri, on Thursday.
Though the Governor addressed his guests and their teams separately, his remarks to both visitors found a common ground in the State of insecurity in the region and how the security agencies could deal with it decisively.
“This is time for all Security Agencies to synergize and come up with a united front to tackle the insurgency and insecurity in the zone perpetrated by those whose identities cannot be properly fixed,” he said.
In welcoming the Flag Officer, Governor Uzodimma thanked the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ikechukwu Ogalla for approving the visit by his men but used the visit to sincerely thank President Bola Tinubu for the choice of Ogalla as the Chief of Naval Staff.
The Governor described the role of the Navy in maritime security as “a critical item that must be strengthened,” acknowledging that the “Nigerian Navy and other security agencies have distinguished themselves in their job.”
To both organizations, the Governor emphasized the need for partnership with each other and even the communities “to ensure the best results in security of lives and property of Nigerians, especially in the South East.”
Governor Uzodimma recalled that on assumption of Office he discovered that the Naval Base in Oguta is a good idea and that he had to quickly embark on the opening of a maritime way to the sea targeted at boosting the economy of the State and the Zone and enhancing commerce and trade in the area.
He promised to do all within his powers to encourage the Nigerian Navy to realise their mission and expressed happiness to hear that the geographic survey report for the dredging of the Orashi River to the Atlantic is ready.
He equally reassured the Navy of the State Government’s readiness to partner with them anytime they call on the government.
He hinted that he is aware that political content is involved in the sit at home menace and that recent intelligence has revealed that some political gladiators are collaborating with some University cult members to carry out what they call ‘’synchronized violence’’ especially during the forthcoming governorship elections.
The Governor urged the security agencies to do everything within their behest in collaboration with the government to unearth their nefarious plans and activities.
To the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 9 Umuahia, Echeng Y Echeng, he thanked him for coming and for his commitment in the Police Force, especially in the South East and his achievements and records as a Commissioner before his elevation to AIG.
The Governor emphasized the need for serious support and deployment of the security agencies to the Communities in the Southeast through additional manpower and logistics to fight the monster of insurgency at the grassroots.
He reiterated that the people of the South East are highly threatened by insecurity as commerce and industry and the entire economy is dying.
He noted, in the case of Imo, that the State needs peace and unity to develop and protect her businesses; hence the security agencies must gear up to remove fear and harassment from the psyche of the people.
His words: “Please recover the confidence of our people and remove fear in them. Please take over the political space and protect our people so that we can exist.”
Governor Uzodimma however advised those who want to challenge those in authority to have a rethink as they will never succeed under him.
He also seized the opportunity to bemoan the attitude of leaders who have refused to speak out and condemn the killings of innocent citizens in the State.
Governor Uzodimma further appealed to the Security Agencies at all levels in the country to ensure that they protect the Igbos wherever they are in Nigeria as it is the responsibility of every government to protect the lives and property of her citizens.
Earlier in his presentations, the Flag Officer Commanding Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ayuba Chugali told the Governor that he brought goodwill message from the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla and went ahead to thank the Governor for all that he has been doing for the Navy in Imo State in particular and Nigeria in general.
He said that they came to announce the appointment of a new Flag Officer of the Central Naval Command who is mandated to ensure that Imo State and the South East are safe and secured.
He thanked the Governor for providing the Navy in Imo State the conducive operational environment and even a permanent base in Oguta, providing them a House in the Water which is the Naval Floating House and acknowledged that Governor Uzodimma has actually “brought hope to the people of Imo State.”
Furthermore, he said that connecting the lake to the sea is economically important and that “the Navy shares the same vision with the Governor and will work hard to realise the objectives of the project.”
He promised that the Navy will work in partnership with other agencies and the communities to secure and protect all legal economic activities within the area in addition to saving lives and property.
Rear Admiral Chugali informed the Governor that the report of the Hydrographic Survey for dredging of the Oguta Lake to the sea is ready and will soon be submitted to the Governor.
The AIG explained that he was on a one day working visit to the Imo State Police Command and found it expedient to give honour to whom honour is due by paying the courtesy visit to the Governor.
He said that the zone which includes Abia, Ebonyi and Imo states has unique security challenges which include insurgency, kidnapping and activities of IPOB, noting that “much has been done and more needs to be done.”
He thanked the Governor for his numerous support to the Police Command and appealed for synergy not only among the security agencies but also the communities “because the hoodlums come from the communities and the leaders in the communities cannot claim that they don’t know them.”
He said the agencies cannot do it alone.
According to the AIG, “the hoodlums should not be allowed to give directives” and wondered how those who want to rule their people go about killing their people.
He informed that “available records show that 99 per cent of those carrying out the act are our people and 99 per cent of victims are also our people,” and assured that “plans are underway to re-jig the operational template of the State command and the Zone in general.”
He assured the Governor that the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun is ready to assist on logistics and training and assured that his men will provide security to Imo State so that “the people will go to sleep with their eyes closed.”
Both visits were witnessed by the Deputy Governor, Placid Njoku, the Secretary to Government of Imo State, Cosmos Iwu, the Chief of Staff, Nnamdi Anyaehie, the Attorney General and Commissioner of Justice and other members of the State Expanded Executive Council.