- Says IPOB is perpetuating criminality in Orly area
Hope Uzodinma, Governor of Imo State, on Friday took full responsibility for the current military operations going on in Orlu and Orsu Local Government Area of the State, saying his government had no place for criminality.
The Governor, who admitted inviting the military, which has been carrying out aerial and ground operations in the area to flush out elements of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), explained that his action followed the killing of members of the Armed Forces of Nigeria by Eastern Security Network (ESN), an arm of the pro-Biafran outfit.
The governor, who spoke against the call for the end of the operation from many Igbo quarters, said the action would not end until calm was restored, which was its main objective.
Accusing the group of being responsible for the death of some policemen and innocent persons, Uzodimma, who conveyed his position through the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Cyprain Akaolisa, told journalists in the Imo State capital, Owerri, that the allegation innocent people were being killed by the military was intended to shift attention from the despicable activities of IPOB in Orlu.
According to him, “the attacks on Police stations and killing of Policemen during #EndSARS were carried out by IPOB and not protesting youths for the sole purpose of hijacking and stealing weapons. They are now using those arms to destroy Orlu.
“They killed 10 policemen, a prominent Orlu son, Ignatius Obiezu and one Emmanuel Okeke (Soludo) collected their Hilux vehicles.
“The IPOB also shot and killed four MUslIms doing their business in Orlu. IPOB said they were looking for herdsmen, but these victims they killed before the crisis, were they herdsmen?
“We heard Nnamdi Kanu celebrating the activities of his men in Orlu that they are doing well by killing innocent citizens. There’s no Fulani herdsmen in Orlu. So, we asked ourselves, what is the colouration that IPOB is trying to give this onslaught in Orlu?
“That’s why our government decided to invite military to flush out IPOB and their so called ESN. We discovered that there was a camp which IPOB established at Umutanze, Orlu and we sent police to dislodge them. But, it happened that they attacked the policemen and killed two of them. It was after they killed those policemen that government had to bring in the military.
“It was not easy for the military to push them out of that place. But the military succeeded. That was why they came on a reprisal attack and killed the innocent ones.
“They also relocated to Udah in Orsu LGA, a camp at a boundary between Imo and Anambra States. The place is a very depressed groove that no one can easily enter.
“For the past two weeks, surveillance was monitoring that place and there were more than 200 people being trained in that camp. The military had to deploy their arsenal to diminish the IPOB people there.
“It’s surprising that people could call for withdrawal of soldiers from Orlu. We can’t do that. We can’t fold our arms for these boys to continue to kill people everyday.”