Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma has justified the reason security operatives set ablaze shops in Eke Ututu market, in Orsu Local Government Area of the State.
Uzodimma who disclosed this to newsmen in Owerri, while narrating the incident of the Orsu attack that led to the burning of shops last Saturday, said a Major of the Nigeria Army lost his life to illegally manufactured explosives by bandits, in Awo-Idemili in Orsu Local Government Area in the state, while two captains of the Nigeria Army are currently lying at the Intensive Care Unit, ICU, of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.
Speaking on what led to the burning of shops, the governor said the incident occurred when one of the arrested bandits took the security joint force to Eke Ututu market, in Orsu LGA, where the bandits manufacture illegal explosives and it was uncovered that some of the shops were parked with items used to manufacture the Improvised Explosives Devices, IED. It was then that the security agents set the shops ablaze.
According to Uzodimma, “You were all witnesses to the insecurity that enveloped Imo State for a period nearing almost three years now. With the daily occurrences of insecurity and wanton destruction of lives and properties in Imo State, we even made a clarion call to communities in Imo State to seek their support to the security of Imo State.
“We even called on these bandits to cease fire and surrender their weapons and discuss with government so that government can work with them in terms of rehabilitation and empowerment.
“Some of them answered the call, surrendered their weapons and talked with the government. We set up a rehabilitation centre where some of these people will be rehabilitated but adamant ones continued visiting mayhem and destroying properties.”
The governor recalled that “Only last month, soldiers on duty in Awo-Idemili, in Orsu local government area were attacked and we lost a major of the Nigeria Army to illegal locally manufactured explosives.
“Also, last Saturday, the joint security force who arrested one of the bandits took the bandit after his confession as to where they operate from and to visit where the local explosives are manufactured. It turned out to be Eke Ututu market. They saw four shops where fertilizer and other electrical gadgets used to manufacture explosives were packed. As I speak to you, the captain who led that operation is now lying critical at the Intensive Care Unit, ICU, FMC Owerri, with another officer, a captain of the Nigeria Army.
“Soldiers were able to recover all these weapons and fertilizer meant to be used to manufacture these locally made explosives and in the process, they burnt down the shops. They were careful and no innocent lives were lost. They were able to destroy these shops where they met these weapons.
“And it pleases some persons, candidates of a political party to condemn the security agencies and even blackmail them and none of them made any attempt to visit the scene,” he said.