Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma said he was quoted out of context by some section of the media on his recent comment on open grazing ban by the Southern governors.
Uzodimma who gave the clarification through the State commissioner for information and strategy, Declan Emelumba said that was he meant was that farmers and herders were peacefully coexisting in the state as a result of mutual respect and understanding.
He added that contrary to insinuations, the state has an open grazing law which became operative since 2006.
According to the Governor, the law he noted provided for areas that were restricted from open grazing, stressing that the herders have been abiding by it.
“The MOU the farmers and Herders signed was to strengthen the existing law and it is working very well, the Governor further clarified.
He regretted the extreme interpretation the media gave to his comments on the matter, saying that what was important was the peaceful way farmers and herders have been coexisting in the state.
According to him, “whereas a law on anti grazing may be desirable, dialogue and understanding as is the case in Imo state were more effective in addressing the conflict.
Uzodinma however urged Nigerians to embrace inclusiveness and tolerance as necessary tools in building and sustaining a united country.
The governor noted that all activities of the states and the people should be geared towards uniting the country and not creating divisions.
He commended farmers and herders in Imo state for living in peace and pledged the support of government towards ensuring that they sustain their cordial relationship.[TheSun]
A State High Court in Owerri has ordered the final and absolute forfeiture of Royal Palm Springs Hotel and other properties said to belong to Senator Rochas Okorocha and other members of his family.
The forfeited properties are contained in pages 226 to 272 of the Imo state Government white paper report by a Judicial Commission of Enquiry on Recovery of Lands and other related matters.
According to the ruling by Justice Fred Njemanze, who was sitting as a vacation judge, Okorocha’s counsel failed to give concrete and verifiable reasons why a final and absolute forfeiture order should not be given in favour of the Imo state government.
Justice Njemanze added that the suit filed against Imo state Government by Okorocha’s counsel was not properly filed.
He also described it as a surplusage, a term in lawn which means a useless statement completely irrelevant to a matter.
Justice Njemanze maintained that the white paper gazette by the Imo state Government is a legal binding document.
The judge concluded that there was no concrete reason before it why the forfeiture should not be made absolute and final, hence the Imo state Government can go ahead and do whatever it deems fit to do with the properties.
As for persons who might have made purchase on such properties, Justice Njamanze said they are at liberty to approach the court to prove their titles.
However, the properties as at today have been returned to the Imo state Government.
Justice Fred Njamanze had February 26 given an interim order of forfeiture on the properties urging Senator Rochas Okorocha to approach the court to show case as to why a final and absolute order of forfeiture should not be given over the properties following an application brought by Mr Louis Alozie, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, on behalf of the state government.
This prompted Okorocha’s counsel to file a preliminary injunction to stop the final forfeiture citing forceful eviction and that the suit by the Imo state Government was not properly Instituted.
Some of the properties forfeited include:
1. Eastern Palm University, Ogboko 2. Royal Spring Palm Hotels and Apartments 3. IBC staff quarters said to have been illegally acquired for the purpose of Rochas Foundation College 4. Owerri magistrate quarters, Orlu road/cooperative office/Girls Guide allegedly converted to private use housing market square and Kilimanjaro eatery 5. Public building situated at plot B/2 Otamiri South Extension Layout given to the ministry of women affairs for establishing a skills acquisition centre for women, allegedly acquired for the benefit of Nneoma Nkechi Okorocha’s all-in Mall along Aba road. 6. Plot P5, Naze residential layout, initially part of primary school management board but now annexed to All-In Mall along Aba Road, belonging to Mrs Nkechi Okorocha 7. And all the properties contained from pages 226 to 272 of the government white paper on the recommendation of the judicial commission of inquiry into land administration in Imo state from June 2006 to May 2019”.
Chioma said her husband, Chukwudi, is still being held at the IRT because the family had not given N1.5million to the IRT police in Abuja as demanded. An eight-month-old pregnant woman, Chioma Okoro, has cried out to the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to direct the Intelligence Response Team to release her husband, Chukwudi Okoro.
Chioma told SaharaReporters on Saturday morning that her husband, Chukwudi, is still being held at the IRT because the family had not given N1.5million to the IRT police in Abuja as demanded.
SaharaReporters gathered that the four other South-Easterners who were raided alongside Okoro had regained their freedom after parting with at least a N1million as bribes to the police officers.
The men were raided by the joint team of the police and the Nigerian Army on May 24 in Owerri, Imo State, and labelled as members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and the unknown gunmen. See Also Corruption EXPOSED: After Taking N1million Bribe, Inspector General of Police Team In Abuja Releases South-East Youths Framed For Being ESN Members.
Chioma Okoro, who is due to give birth in July, begged the police top echelon to release her husband, who is a struggling tricycle driver and the first in his family.
She said, “He is the only one in detention among the five of his set right now. The police told us to pay N1.5million to secure his release. He is the eldest brother. He has only two younger brothers who are in school. They don’t have such an amount.
“My husband needs help. He does not have such an amount. The tricycle he is riding is on hire purchase, and he has not even completed the hire purchase. I am not doing anything for now. I am eight months pregnant. I am a hairdresser. Things are very difficult for me and the family.
“He has been arrested since May 25. He was labelled as an unknown gunman. We last spoke on Wednesday and what my husband said was I should try and find a means. We are all tired.”
SaharaReporters had earlier reported that the IGP Intelligence Response Team in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, collected at least N1million bribes as bail before releasing South-East youths and artisans raided as members of the IPOB’s Eastern Security Network.
SaharaReporters had learnt from the families of the victims, who did not want their names in print to avoid police victimisation. They paid the huge sums through their nose before securing the release of their relations.
SaharaReporters gathered that the victims were raided in the South-East and brought to detention at the IGP’S IRT office in Abuja.
“The Investigating Police Officer at the IRT’s team holding them is one Inspector Daniel. They were five in number taken to the IRT office, formerly called Abattoir.
“We paid about N1million to secure Chigaemezu (one of the victims). In June, he was released in June by the police in Abuja,” one of the family members had said. (Sahara Reporters)
With the south east of Nigeria slowly slipping away from the grips of the Nigeria security forces and agents, the many communities within the south east states find themselves grappling against the ever-forceful push of the Nigerian security agents/forces in their effort to recapture the authority in the region. In the process, youths are caught in the web of arrests and murder by angry police officers who had been given orders to shoot at sight – and “to go their homes, find them and kill them”.
As observed, the deadly activities of the federal police/military force are most evident in Imo State where the State Governor, Mr. Hope Uzodinma had invited the federal military and had boastfully told the nation while standing at the entrance to the Presidential Villa that he had invited the military to Imo State to help rid the state of miscreants and Biafra agitators. He made the proclamation while existing from the President’s office where he had gone for a meeting with the President.
So ensued the killings. Amidst outcries by mothers whose sons and daughters had been abducted by the federal agents, the embattled governor remained resolute and determined to fish out the agitators out of the State. He remained adamant – claiming to be winning the battle against the people of Imo State.
But in talking to a top aide to the Governor who is considered close to Governor, it was made clear, the Governor is shaken up. He has come to regret his actions of inviting the federal might against “his” people. But “he is in a bind” too much innocent blood has been wasted. “The red line has been crossed”.
The aide indicated the Governor never envisaged a situation where the federal military and police would use the towns and villages of Imo State as firing grounds – without regards to human rights violations. “He misread the situation from the onset. He saw it as a politically motivated crisis stemming from the manner he emerged as Governor through the Supreme Courts. He believed the Biafran agitators were working with his political enemies, so he sought federal cover from his friends in Abuja, to counter what attacks that may come.”
Unfortunate for the embattled Governor, his actions backfired on him. In his quest to impress his Northern friends in Abuja who had played key roles in his Supreme Court, he misfired. The embattled Governor was determined to display his disdain for Biafra agitators to his friends in Abuja – he pledged to rid his state of all Biafra agitators. He took the decision without thinking through the possible consequences.
“Too late to call for withdrawal” because the red line has been crossed and both sides must continue to fight. Even though “he wants the noise to end”, there are no openings allowing him to end it. Desperately, he wants to initiate dialogue with the Biafra agitators but his northern friends in Abuja appear not willing.
“So, the killings continue”.
Meanwhile, in a related development, Uzodinma’s inability to exhibit impressionable governance since taking over the mantle has worsened his problems with the people of Imo State. His inability to pay worker’s salaries has not impressed the people of Imo State. The nonexistent of bulk or significant projects in the State has not helped to alleviate or dissipate the hatred for the Uzodinma administration.
Our source within the administration reveal that there exists dire financial crunch that goes beyond the monthly allocations from the federated accounts. “Uzodinma is still settling his Abuja friends who helped him win at the Supreme Courts. And, he is using the state resources to do so.”
The source pointed to a multi-billion contract awarded to the former national chairman of the All Progressive Congress [APC], Adamu Aliyu Oshiomole – for the dualization of MCC road from Weatheral junction to Uratta worth an estimated N3.4billion. As expected, the contract has yet to be executed but 70% of the contract sum has been released.
In addition, the personal assistant to Oshiomole while he served as the APC chairman, a fellow by the name – Simon Ebegbulam – was given the position of Commissioner in the Uzodinma administration – as part of the pay back for helping him win the Supreme Court case.
The numerous visits by the recently gun down APC chieftain [Gulak] to the State has been deemed suspicious by those knowledgeable of the goings on in the State. Gulak had been making frequent low-profile visits to the State to see the embattled Governor – of which no known projects or contracts were allocated to Gulak. His reasons for the frequent visits remain unexplained.
It is recalled Gulak was the one who conducted the highly controversial APC gubernatorial primary that gave rise to Uzodinma as the winner of the primary. At the conclusion of the primary, Gulak claimed to have escaped the State for fear his life was in danger. He claimed he ran away from Imo State because some personalities were after his life owing to the outcome of the APC primary. He never said who the personalities were.
Aide of Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak is dead.
Gatekeepers News reports that the aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Ahmed Gulak is dead.
Gulak who is from Adamawa State was shot dead at the airport in Imo State on Sunday.
He is a former member of the Peoples Democratic Party, decamped to the All Progressives Congress in 2018.
His classmate, Dr Umar Ado announced his death in a statement on Sunday.
Although, the statement did not clearly state what took him to Imo, however, unconfirmed sources revealed that he was invited to Imo by some Northern Groups in the state.
Here’s the statement: “I just confirmed the sad and gruesome death of my friend and classmate, the former Hon. Speaker of the Adamawa State House of Assembly, former Senior Special Assistant to the Vice President and former Special Adviser Political to President Goodluck Jonathan, Barr. Ahmadu Ali Gulak.
“Barr Gulak was said to have been killed last night by unknown gunmen in Owerri, Imo State.
“May Allah (SWT) forgive his sins, bless his soul and reward his good deeds with Aljannah on the Day of Resurrection.
“May Allah (SWT) also give all his children, relatives, friends and loved ones, the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss. And may Allah (SWT) bless us with faithful deaths when it is our turn to die. Ameen.
“Please let all and sundry accept my heartfelt sympathy over this personal painful experience even as I draw solace that he lived a good, helpful and productive life, well illustrated by the fact that he died while in service of his dear country.
“This is one death too many! May God Almighty save our fatherland. Ameen.” (Gatekeepers news)
Catholic priest and the spiritual Director Adoration Ministry Enugu Nigeria (AMEN), Very Reverend Father Cammellus Ebenizah Ejike Mbaka has during today’s Sunday Holy mass advised the Nigeria politicians and the leaders to see the recent attack on the Governor of Imo State as the beginning of what is going to befall on them starting from Aso Rock to the local Government level. He said, the recent attack on the Governor’s properties by the unknown gunmen is a prophecy coming through against the leaders. “This was prophesied here four years ago and it came again early this year. How can you be treating our young graduates the way you do and think they will be happy for you? Hope Uzodinma has gotten everything wrong and what has befallen him is a sign of bad leadership. There is bad leadership in imo state and that is why it is boiling today. The imolites are not happy. He said.
The catholic priest who dished out the statements during the Holy mass homily, which he tagged “the good shepherd stressed that the Imo State Governor lacked a good adviser and should try as much as he can to retrace his wrong step. “Hope came here for prayers to become the governor of Imo, I do not know who he is before and not to talk of giving me money. Before God and man Hope did not give me a dime to pray for him and I don’t collect money before I pray for anybody because, my anointing cannot be merchandise. No one can buy it. It is the gift of the holyspirit. I asked Hope to lay his hand upon the Holy Bible on the sanctuary and make a convanant that he will take good care of the Imo people which he did, but after he became the governor, Hope has never called me on phone and refused to pick up my calls as well. If he had been calling or answering my calls, I would have advised him when he was going wrong. He added.
Mbaka stressed that, after he had prayed for Hope and he became the governor, he directed him to contact one of the Catholic priest in Owerri and make him his spiritual adviser, but he paid a deaf ears and keep putting the lives of those he was meant to govern at risk. “How can you be killing your people and think they will be happy for you?
“I heared all the governors of the southeast went to Imo to hover arround the destroyed properties of the governor. That is not the solution because more is still coming and it is not going to be in Imo alone but nation. Build industries and get our youths engaged as soon as posdible or your lives are in danger. He warned.
He further advised the imolites to start packing their belongings out of the state and find a safety place to stay for a while because more havoc and unpleasant things are still going to happen in the state. “Hope has failed the imo citizens and now he is getting what he deserves, he think he will cheat the Holy spirit here. No, it is a matter of time and he wiil fight for himself and the time is now. Imagine, Hope could not return to the altar that made him a governor to kneel and thank the Holyspirit. I do not ask him to give me money because I have enough. There is no amount of money I will need today that the holyspirit cannot provide for me. He exhausted.
■ IPOB Secretary also denied ESN’s involvement in Saturday’s attack on Governor Hope Uzodinma’s residence.
The Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) on Sunday says the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the military wing of the group, has got a new commander.
This is coming barely 24 hours after men of the Nigeria Police Force and their counterparts from the Nigerian Army and State Security Service (SSS) in a joint operation stormed the operational headquarters of ESN in Awomama Village, Oru East Local Government Area of Imo state, killing Commander Ikonso and other members of the group.
The group however declined to make his name public.
Speaking on Sunday Politics, a Channels Television programme, IPOB Secretary, Emma Powerful also denied ESN’s involvement in Saturday’s attack on Governor Hope Uzodinma’s residence.
“ESN are not the ones that attacked Uzodinma’s house. They cannot come for an operation and tell you they are ESN,” he said.
When asked to explain the group’s operational activities, he said, “We pursue Fulani herdsmen from the region.”
Speaking on the new instituted security outfit by the South East governors, ‘Ebubeagu’, Powerful said, “They are a ghost security outfit. There is no group like Ebubeagu.”
Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the group, had in December 2020 launched ESN to protect the people of South-East and South-South regions from terrorists and bandits allegedly trooping in from the North.
The IPOB leader described the outfit as a replica of the Western Nigeria Security Network, also known as Amotekun, earlier launched by the South-West governors to curb insecurity in the region.
“The sole aim and objective of this newly formed security outfit known as Eastern Security Network are to halt every criminal activity and the terrorist attack on Biafraland,” Kanu had said.
“This outfit, which is a vigilante group like the Amotekun in the South-West and the Miyetti Allah security outfit, will ensure the safety of our forests and farmland, which terrorists have converted into slaughter grounds and raping fields.” (SaharaReporters)
■ Killed NSCDC officer, another two at Mgbidi Junction
■They were also repelled
By Chinonso Alozie – Owerri
The Imo State Police Command on Saturday confirmed that the Imo State Governor’s House at his (Hope Uzodinma) hometown, Omuma in Oru East local government area of the state, was attacked with a petrol bomb but that the hoodlums did not succeed in burning the house, only vehicles were damaged.
According to the State Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Orlando Ikeokwo, disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri, while reacting to the governor’s house attack.
The hoodlums, he said, were successfully repelled by security operatives. However, he confirmed that the hoodlums killed an officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, during the attack.
He further said that as the hoodlums were trying to escape that they killed two security operatives at Mgbidi Junction, one a police Sergent and another NSCDC, officer.
He said: “Yes, I can confirm the story, the hoodlums attacked the Governor’s House by throwing in Petrol bomb as a result of which two cars were burnt, but they were successfully reppelled.
“And none of the buildings was set ablaze, however, one unarmed personnel of the NSCDC was killed in the process, the hoodlums while escaping also killed a Police Sergeant and another NSCDC personnel both in there private vehicles at Mgbidi junction.”
It should be recalled that Vanguard had reported that the same hoodlums who carried these attacks on the Imo governor’s house had carried out attacks in other places. (Vanguard News)
Operatives of the Nigeria Police Force and their counterparts from the Nigerian Army and DSS in a joint operation, in the early hours of today 24th April, 2021 stormed the operational headquarters of Insurgents (IPOB Militias) in Awomama Village Oru East LGA of Imo State.
The Insurgents are responsible for the attack on the Imo State Police Headquarters and the headquarters of the Nigerian Correctional Service on 5th April, 2021. They have also carried out series of calculated, violent attacks on security personnel and formations in the south east and south south of the country.
As the security forces approached the base of the insurgents, they came under rapid fire from the group. In a bold and clinical response, the joint security forces fought back gallantly.
The Forces eventually neutralized the overall commander of the insurgents in the Southeast popularly known as Ikonso Commander and six (6) other armed fighters of the insurgent group. Commander Ikonso is known as the Vice President designate as well as the coordinator of all the militia operations of the group.
He was the mastermind and coordinator of the attack on the Imo Police Headquarters and several other attacks on security and military personnel and facilities.
The operation is part of deliberate effort by the Police and other security forces to quel the activities of insurgents in Imo State and other States of the South East and South South region of the country.
After the fierce gun battle, the security team recovered the remains of Ikonso Commander and the six (6) of his fighters. Several sophisticated weapons including six(6) AK47 rifles, hundreds of ammunition of different caliber and lots of charms including bullet Proof charms were recovered from the insurgents.
At the time of filing this report, three policemen and one army officer are receiving treatment having sustained serious bullet injuries during exchange of gunfire with the insurgents. (Vanguard News)
The Imo State governor’s house has been allegedly set ablaze by angry Imo youths after killings by joint operation by DSS and Nigerian soldiers in Awo-Omamma in Oru East LGA.
The town, Awo-Omamma is just few kilometres away from the Gov. Hope Uzodinma’s own hometown, Omuma, which is also the headquarters of their Local Government Area, known as Oru East LGA.
Last night and throughout the night the combined contingent of DSS and soldiers invaded a village known as Umuokwe in Awo-Omamma in search of a youth known as Ikonso, who is allegedly a member of IPOB.
The DSS and soldiers went to the house of the alleged IPOB member and found him absent but they turned on his family members and killed allegedly five of them and burnt two bodies and took others with them.
Eye witness who spoke to The Republican News said that the sound of gunshots covered the entire night in Awo-Omamma and made people wonder what war is going on in their peaceful town.
The eyewitness said that after the killings at the house of Mr Ikonso, the DSS and soldiers killed some more youths on their way out which he gave The Republican News some of the videos to back up his account of the ugly incident.
According to the eyewitnesses early this morning ESN operatives arrived and gave the DSS and soldiers a hot pursuit.
After this incident, the youths of Awo-Omamma and Orlu said that since the governor has ordered for deaths and burning of houses of the citizens that they should give him a taste of his own pill. This was when the youths marched to Governor’s House in Orlu and set it ablaze.
As the time of this report, the house is on fire before the fire service personnel arrived with soldiers and other security agencies to bring the fire under control. The house is still smouldering as at the time of this report.
The once peaceful Imo state has now descended into a war zone under the stewardship of Governor Hope Uzodinma, which many now say that it is a bad omen. Some bystander said that Imo state has never had this bad until the coming of Sen. Hope Uzodinma, whose home town is just a stone throw from the said Umuokwe Awo-Omamma where this incident took place.