Why we invited military to Orlu – Uzodinma
NEWS DIGEST – The governor of Imo State governor Senator Hope Uzodinma Tuesday explained that his decision to invite the military to quell the crisis in Orlu was to avert a repeat of the scenario that played out during the recent #EndSARS protests.
Uzodinma spoke to newsmen after he met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He explained that the whole episode of the protest and the eventual escalation of criminal activities that trailed them, leading to deaths and destructions in the area had degenerated beyond what could be handled by local arrangement, hence his invitation to the military authorities to intervene.
“During the #EndSARS protests, a lot of properties were damaged in Imo State, police stations were burnt down, soldiers were killed, their rifles removed from them,” Uzodinma said.
“And immediately after the #EndSARS, we thought it was over. Then, issues of kidnapping, where you know, a Catholic bishop was kidnapped, who was killed. And this militants came out and begin to shoot. We’ve lost lives, market women were killed, old women were raped in Orlu area of Imo state and they visited this serious terror on the citizenry.
“And they I came here (Presidential Villa), pleaded with Mr. President for his support and he sent additional support by sending in police and the military also came in. And that is where we are.
“It was on my invitation that the military came. And I did that because I know the situation was beyond the local arrangement, we needed help. And the help was given to us.
“And as I speak to you the situation has come down to normal, people are now going about their businesses. And those caught will soon be charged to court. And all those military riffles from the army, the police, AK 47, and so on, were recovered by the people that came.
“We are a government, it is our responsibility to protect lives. And while we have the Nigerian Army, Nigerian police. We had security challenges, we invited them to go to work”, he explained.
The governor also dismissed insinuations that he invited the military to ‘crush’ his people.
According to him, he did not use military for to ‘crush’ his people in Orlu. He said invited security agents to for the restoration of peace and normalcy in the area.
“Our initial intelligence and the efforts to control the sporadic shootings in Orlu that led to many dead, innocent women in the market, people selling food foodstuffs dead by a group of people that we were not able to identify.
“Preliminary intelligence reviewed where they were in a bush. Our local police and local military went there and confronted, were repelled.
“So, we discovered that the people had serious fire power. And that, of course, Nigeria, is a federation, Imo state is a federating unit, and all over the world, you have provincial police, you have federal police. So, there was a need for me to report situation and that I did and we were supported to deal with the situation.
“It is not about crushing anybody and those that came didn’t do any crushing. Those that came through their intelligence identified where these people were and I can tell you, all the people arrested, all the rifles recovered are intact. The people are under interrogation, not even one, not even one soldier, or one of those militants died in the process.”