By Uche Amunike
The Hope Uzodimma-led government of Imo state, as well as Igbo youths have condemned the Awo-Omamma Crisis that rocked the Oru East Local Government Area of the state which claimed the life of a soldier on Monday.
Speaking, through a statement made public by the State Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, he described the crisis as regrettable and avoidable and expressed his pain that the slain soldier was on official duty when he was murdered.
His words :’Imo State Government is shocked and dismayed over the events of yesterday in Awo-Omamma in Oru East Local Government Area of the state. The ugly event is regrettable and avoidable’.
‘Government condemns the murder of a soldier by the so called unknown gunmen. Certainly, this soldier who was on a legitimate duty to ensure free flow of traffic and to protect lives and property on this fafeful Monday of November 22nd, did not deserve to die such a gruesome death’.
‘On the other hand, Government deprecates reports of wanton destruction of property visited on the community by aggrieved soldiers. The indiscriminate burning of residential and businesses premises of innocent citizens was not an appropriate response since two wrongs will never make a right. Government has good reasons to believe that there is more to the sad event than meets the eyes’.
He also added that Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, has asked that a high-powered investigation is carried out concerning the incident to unmask the cause of the Awo-Omamma crisis and attendant loss of life and property, well advicing both parties to show high-level of restraint in order to maintain peace while the investigation lasts.
He reiterated that the state government appreciates the huge sacrifices made by security agencies as well as the attendant risks involved in seeing that Imo State is safe for all law-abiding citizens. This is even as the government urges security agencies in the state to remember the need for them to live by the rules of engagement as spelt out by their services while discharging their duties legitimately.
They also advised communities to cooperate constantly with security agencies in order to track down and arrest criminals in their midst, especially as the Awo-Omamma crisis put a scare to people in the communities.
The government commiserated with the family of the deceased soldier, even as they expressed sympathy with the victims of the Awo-Omamma crisis and promised to take immediate measures to compensate their losses while also ensuring that such ugly incident does not repeat itself, ever again.
On their parts, the Igbo groups, ‘Nzuko Ndigbo’ and the youth wing of Orluzurumee Cultural Union have equally condemned the mayhem that took place in Awo-Omamma, after unknown gunmen that were enforcing compliance of the sit-at-home order had engaged soldiers on duty in a fire exchange that claimed the life of an army officer which resulted in the army officers, burning houses and destroying property in the local community, as a way of avenging the death if their colleague.
Spokesman of Nzuko Ndigbo, Edomobi Promise, expressed his disappointment at the ugly incident and wondered why the army chose to destroy public and private properties of innocent citizens, while leaving the unknown gunmen that attacked them.
The group called for the immediate prosecution and sack of the Brigade Commander in Onitsha, while asking that the chief of army staff investigates the incident and fishes out the culprits, or else, tender his resignation.
The Orluzurumee Youths, on their parts also charged the government to bring the perpetrators of the dastardly act to justice, through a release jointly signed by its National President, Prince Arthur Madumere and Publicity Secretary, Ikemba Don Uba.
They described the brazen violence meted out to the people of the area by Nigerian soldiers as inhuman and reprehensive and called on Governor Hope Uzodimma to meet with various stakeholders in the state and seek true dialogue.
Their words: ‘We will not play politics with the lives and property of the people of Imo state and Orlu zone in particular. We are not one of the political merchant bodies that go about singing the praises of any government in power for some rewards. That is why we must call a spade by its name than calling it a farming implement’.
‘Sadly, and ironically, the area of interest- Oru East, is the local government area of the Governor, who is also the Chief Security Officer, Distinguished Senator Hope Uzodinma.
‘Let us state unequivocally and once more that Orlu Zone will not be made a mocking zone by our very own son due to his style of governance. Before him, we’ve had our sons leading this state and we didn’t witness this level of carnage and brigandage’, they concluded.