Lawyer to the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, on Sunday pointedly accused Imo State Governor, Chief Hope Uzodinma, the state’s security outfit, Ebubeagu, and the Nigerian Army of being behind the burning of a market, shops and houses of the people of Orsu Ihiteukwa community in the Orsu Council Area of Imo State,
But Oguwike Nwachukwu, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, in an interview with a national newspaper, said his boss had no hand in the Saturday attacks.
“You know that people can allege anything against Governor Hope Uzodinma because it gives them joy doing so. If there was no salt in the food their wives served them, it was Governor Uzodimma that caused.
“But to answer you directly, Governor Uzodinma has never, can never and will never give instruction to security operatives or anybody for that matter to kill innocent people.
“Please, get in touch with security agencies because the concern you have raised borders on security.
“However, let me say that it is unfortunate that we often ignore the operational rule of engagement that exists within the security agencies, with their different hierarchies taking responsibility for their actions, but resort to mischievous finger-pointing at Governor Uzodimma. That is not fair,” he told The Punch.
Ejiofor in Owerri, the state capital, described the attack as an obvious crime against humanity and a deliberate action to pauperise the people by destroying their economic activities.
His words: “Orsu-Ihiteukwa is a community in Orsu Local Government Area (LGA) of Imo State. According to verifiable and credible eyewitness accounts, this hitherto peaceful community was this weekend, invaded by the combined team of Governor Hope Uzodimma’s Ebubeagu Security outfit and the Nigerian Army.
“It is heart-rending that at this period of economic downturn, the only available daily market in the community, where the downtrodden go to for communal trade, in search of their daily bread was completely razed to the ground, and homes burnt by these evil monsters acting on behalf of the State Government. Indigenes of the community were thrown into this unexpected horror, and out of fear, they fled from their very own ancestral homes. Right now, Orsu-Ihiteukwa is a ghost town.
“We are asking the Governor of Imo State, could there be any justification, whatsoever, under any known law in Nigeria, as well as the international jurisprudence, that sanctioned this oppressive, barbaric, wicked, soulless and evil destruction of the lives and properties of his people that he swore to protect? Was it an engagement strategy, envisaged, permitted and consequently, sanctioned within the Operational Rules of Engagement of the Nigerian Security Agents? The answer is capital NO.
“Furthermore, if the overzealous Security Agents are in hot chase of targeted criminal elements, can’t they profile and define their targets? Can this oppressive conduct occur in any other region or part of Nigeria?
“Remember, Governor Hope Uzodimma that power is transient, it does not last forever! You must not also forget that you will give an account of your stewardship someday and one day, very certainly, before the International Criminal Court of Justice. These monumental atrocities, genocidal killing of innocent lives, destruction of properties, and obvious crimes against humanity, brazenly perpetrated and superintended under Governor Hope Uzodimma’s watch with reckless abandon/impunity are extremely cruel and the evidence abounds.
“Again, we continue to call on responsible foreign governments and foreign institutions to prevail on the Nigerian Government, under whose domain these crimes against humanity are being perpetrated daily, to call their lawless security agents to order.
“The actions of the Nigerian security agents in conjunction with the Governor’s Ebubeagu Security outfit are not only barbaric and wicked but condemnable. We, therefore, call for the immediate arrest and prosecution of all those involved in these inhuman, wicked, and barbaric acts.”