Uzodinma: IPOB Usurped S’East Security Initiative

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• Promises to recover public assets taken over by Okorocha
Amby Uneze in Owerri

Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma yesterday disclosed that a Biafran separatist organisation, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) hijacked and bastardised a regional security initiative the South-east governors agreed to establish like other geopolitical zones nationwide.

Uzodimma, whose victory at the Supreme Court is currently being challenged, disclosed that the governors from the geo-political zone would soon establish a new regional security outfit to complement the conventional security agencies.
He revealed the plan at a session with members of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) at the Government House, Owerri, yesterday.

At the session, Uzodinma said before now, the Eastern Security Network was the brainchild of the governors of the Southeast geo-political zone until the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) hijacked and bastardised the process.
He said: “We have to change the name. It is necessary for each geopolitical zone to now manage her own security. It is true that the Southeast and Ohanaeze Ndigbo tried to set up Eastern Security Network. Before we could come out with something, IPOB hijacked the name and started messing up with it.

“Very soon, we will come up with a name and we will not allow any external invasion or allow anybody to take us to ransom. This is no failure in government as its primary aim is to protect lives and property.
“Very soon, a security summit will be hosted in Owerri and something meaningful will come out to complement conventional security agencies”, the governor said.

On recovery of public property, Uzodinma promised that he would not tolerate any sacred cow in recovering public property looted by officials of previous administrations in the state in line with the recommendations of the judicial commission of inquiry set up by the immediate past administration in the state.

He said the mantra of his administration that was anchored on reconstruction, rehabilitation and recovery would neither be based on nepotism, sentiment nor favouritism.
“We will sustain its credibility and public confidence. The complainants are the Imo people and we need the support of everybody to achieve it,” the governor said.

On changing the attitude of some public officials including civil servants and political appointees that had changed from good to bad, the governor vowed “to change the narrative for a better society.” While unfolding plans to reposition the agricultural and industrial sectors in the state, he decried reported cases of violence in some parts of the state by youths.

He said that he had ordered an independent investigation into the circumstances that recently led to the burning of a police station and killing of a young man in the Ihitte/Uboma Council area to forestall recurrence.

While tourism would be accorded a pride of place in his administration, the governor added that there would be a re-appraisal and re-assessment of all abandoned industries for revival and resuscitation just as the Onitsha Road Industrial Layout in Owerri would receive fresh impetus.

He challenged pensioners and workers who complain of non-payment of their salary and stipend to come up with cogent verifiable facts for payment, stating that efforts are on to sanitize the state and local government service to rid them of ghost workers.

Meanwhile, a forum of former lawmakers in Imo State under the Former Honourable Members of Imo State House of Assembly (FOMIHA) has asked the state’s former governor, Mr. Rochas Okorocha not to distract his successor, Senator Hope Uzodinma.

The forum, also, supported the decision of the Uzodinma administration to recover all properties allegedly acquired illegally by Okorocha and others.
The chairman of FOMIHA, Chief Ike Ibe made these remarks alongside other members of the association at a news conference he addressed in Owerri, at the weekend.

As the former lawmakers in the state, Ibe noted that they had closely monitored events and followed the processes leading up to the release of the government’s white paper on the inquiry of land matters and executive implementation of the recommendations of the panel and arrived at the conclusion of supporting the government’s action.

He said: “We are confident that the government is following the letters of the laws and enactments ensuring due process. We are also mindful that the government has the overall interest of the generality of the Imo people at heart.

“Therefore we do not hesitate to give the government full support in recovering government’s and Imo people’s properties either illegally or wrongly acquired by officials of past administrations.

“These actions of the current government in recovering the people’s assets should serve as a pointer for purposeful governance. The prosecution of those who illegally disposed of the people of their assets should also serve as a deterrent to future wrongful acts.”