Imo State Commissioner for Info, Declan Emelumba, speaks with ALEXANDER OKERE on the current assault on Governor Hope Uzodinma’s nation dwelling, the violence in some elements of the state, the proposed safety outfit by South-East governors and the rift together with his predecessor.
Due to rising insecurity, Imo State has been within the information for the incorrect causes. What are the key considerations for the state authorities on the difficulty?
To begin with, the governor made a broadcast to Imo folks on Saturday (Could 1, 2021) the place he assured them that the scenario is beneath management and that they need to go about their regular companies. He additionally made it clear that investigation has reached a complicated stage to show all these concerned and to convey them to e-book. With that, the scenario in Imo is calm now. I perceive that some arrests are being made, in order that reveals that the governor is maintaining to his phrases.
Do you will have figures as to the variety of arrests which were made?
I don’t have an official determine however I do know that some arrests are being made.
What precisely is the state authorities doing to guard the residents from assaults by armed teams?
We’ve redoubled safety within the state. Each nook and cranny of the state is now correctly policed, correctly safeguarded by safety forces. So, each measure has been put in place to make sure that folks can go about their regular companies with out concern of any type of molestation. So, safety has been redoubled and that’s one clear measure that the governor has taken.
Do the measures embrace the imposition of curfew on any a part of the state, particularly the risky ones?
No, there is no such thing as a curfew.
The governor returned to the state six days after the assault on his dwelling within the Oru East Native Authorities Space of the state. What else has the federal government uncovered almost about the identities of the perpetrators?
Like I stated, the governor made it clear that the investigation has reached a complicated stage, and that quickly, all of the perpetrators can be uncovered and dropped at e-book. So, till then, that’s the scenario now.
Does he keep his floor that the assault was politically motivated?
Sure. What we are saying is that the assault was politically sponsored (by) possibly the opposition. And once you say opposition, folks get it incorrect or a narrow-minded view of it as a result of they simply have a look at these outdoors a political celebration; it doesn’t comply with. These inside a celebration can nonetheless be a part of the opposition.
The Indigenous Folks of Biafra denied any involvement in that assault. Does the state authorities agree with that?
What we’ve got stated is that it was politically sponsored. We’ve not stated that it was IPOB or any group, and that’s our place.
However what’s your response to the reported risk by the IPOB that the governor would pay dearly for the current loss of life of certainly one of its commanders?
That’s, possibly, an announcement they’ve made in anger or no matter. However I don’t suppose the federal government is a risk to anyone. The governor has additionally stated he isn’t going to barter with criminals. So, if any group is a felony gang, the federal government won’t negotiate with them. That’s the place of the federal government.
Many might have puzzled whether or not the governor fled the state as a result of that risk. What are you able to say about that or is that true?
No. To begin with, the governor left Imo for an official project and he was even in Abuja when this factor (assault) occurred. So, he couldn’t have anticipated that such a factor would occur and that’s not the primary time he was going to Abuja. He goes to Abuja frequently as a result of lots of issues in regards to the federation occur in Abuja. Most governors go to Abuja and he isn’t an exception. It was in one of many journeys he made to Abuja that this (assault) occurred, so it couldn’t have been due to one risk. He got here again and addressed the Imo folks. So, if it was due to it (risk), why would he come again?
What’s the state authorities’s response to critics who accuse the governor of being sympathetic to herders fomenting violence within the state?
The governor swore an oath to guard the lives and property of Imo folks and he’s doing precisely that and he has sworn once more earlier than Imo people who that’s what he has come to do and he wouldn’t stray away from that duty. And that’s what he’s doing – defending the lives and property of Imo folks.
However don’t you see the emergence of a bunch claiming its operations are aimed toward defending the residents from armed herders a sign that the state authorities has not lived as much as expectation by way of safety?
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion however I do know the federal government is doing all the pieces that’s wanted to guarantee that the lives and property of Imo persons are protected.
The governor was a part of the high-level assembly held to debate the establishing of a safety outfit, Ebube Agu, for the South-East. What measure has the state authorities taken to make the outfit operational and efficient in Imo?
What the South-East agreed was to determine a vigilante group to be referred to as and addressed as Ebube Agu. And I do know that within the nearest future, the governor can be launching the Imo State vigilante group, which is nicknamed Ebube Agu.
It’s anticipated that establishing a safety outfit, if you’re taking a cue from the one created within the South-West, Amotekun, includes coaching and equipping manpower with a number of devices together with firearms. Is the state authorities able to do all that?
A invoice will quickly be offered to the state Home of Meeting to provide authorized enamel to the brand new outfit. So, it’s that regulation that may outline how the nomenclature and the issues which can be crucial can be rolled out. It doesn’t should be modelled after Amotekun. However I do know that what is going to represent Ebube Agu, by way of content material, operational modalities, can be clearly spelt out within the regulation; it gained’t be a secret. Allow us to not be in haste. The invoice will quickly be submitted within the Home; by then, the entire substances of the vigilante group can be made clear and all different questions can comply with from there.
Is there a chance that the state authorities will combine the Jap Safety Community of the IPOB into Ebube Agu?
I communicate for the state authorities; I don’t communicate for every other group.
However is the federal government involved a few place conflict if the ESN and Ebube Agu function concurrently?
I don’t know why you wish to be dragging me into this ESN, IPOB factor. Like I stated, I communicate for the state authorities. Why don’t you await the outfit to be established? There is no such thing as a want making conjectures or anticipating what is going to occur or what won’t occur. I stated there could be a regulation that may clearly outline the operations and when that regulation comes out, we will take it up from there.
Not too long ago, the Niger State Governor, Sani Bello, raised the alarm in regards to the infiltration of part of the state by Boko Haram terrorists and there have been considerations over the connection between bandits finishing up assaults in several elements of the nation and the terrorist group. Does the state authorities additionally share these considerations?
Actually, I don’t know. I’m not able to determine that correlation. That is one thing that requires intelligence and really empirical examine to have the ability to decide, so I’m not able to determine that. I’m not a safety operative however the authorities’s place is that these assaults are politically sponsored and investigations are on. However I additionally should add that there is no such thing as a have to make conjectures as a result of this can be a safety factor and it’s a delicate factor.
There have been stories that Jap Palm College was shut down by the administration of the establishment as a result of possession disaster between the state authorities and a former governor, Rochas Okorocha. What are the problems on the bottom?
There is no such thing as a possession disaster. There is no such thing as a Jap Palm College, to start out with; Ok. O. Mbadiwe College, previously Jap Palm College, was constructed because the second state college in Imo State, and it was constructed with state funds, which is empirically verifiable. Any person needed to applicable it after which all we did was to recuperate the property from the unlawful claimant. So, having executed that, we’re placing crucial devices in place to make sure that the college takes off formally as a state college and that features figuring out whether or not will probably be extra of an impartial college or whether or not will probably be a campus of one other college.
Whereas that’s on, we determined that the administration and college students should not a part of the issue. So, we don’t wish to contact them till we’ve got once more completed what we’re doing. So, when anyone, with out authorisation from the federal government, determined to make an announcement, in fact, that was an train in futility as a result of he (vice-chancellor) didn’t have such authority from the federal government. So, all we did was to counter the announcement and ask the scholars and all people to return to the established order. There is no such thing as a wrestle for possession between the federal government and anyone. The college belongs to the federal government and that’s the fact of the matter.
What’s the destiny of the administration of the establishment that made the announcement?
The very first thing is that we’ve got formally recovered the college. The second factor is to evaluate the scenario there and decide whether or not to depart it to proceed to function as a full-fledged college or no matter different capability. When we’ve got executed that, we are going to then decide what would occur to the administration – whether or not to retain them or eliminate them. These are selections that may come very quickly.
The governor and his predecessor have been at loggerheads over one problem or the opposite…
They don’t seem to be at loggerheads. They don’t have any private points in any respect. What is going on in Imo State is that earlier than the governor got here on board, there have been judicial commissions arrange by the administration we took over from to look into each land use and associated issues, contract awards and others points. And the previous governor occurred to be indicted by this fee right here and there, it’s a matter between him and the regulation, not him and the governor. So, it can’t be a distraction. It’s similar to every other citizen of the state having to undergo the regulation to reply for some wrongdoing. It can’t be a private factor with the governor, in any other case so many different folks which can be frequently charged in courtroom, each excessive and low, for various crimes, can be a distraction to the governor.
You talked about that the state authorities acted primarily based on the findings of the judicial commissions arrange by the administration of Emeka Ihedioha. What’s the present relationship between him and Governor Hope Uzodinma?
That could be a not often private query. I want you’ll ask the governor that query. However what I do know is that frequently, invites have been thrown open for stakeholders conferences and all people who’s certified to be a stakeholder has all the time been invited to such conferences. What I’m not positive is that whether or not Ihedioha has attended such conferences. However by way of private relationship between them, I’m not able to say that.
Critics of the governor nonetheless name him a Supreme Court docket administrator. What’s the authorities’s response to that?
It’s a non-issue, so far as I’m involved. What they overlook is that there is no such thing as a governorship election in Imo State that has not been decided by the Supreme Court docket. (Former governor Achike) Udenwa’s governorship was lastly decided by the Supreme Court docket. That of (Ikedi) Ohakim was by the Supreme Court docket; ditto for Rochas’. So, the distinction is that possibly, for the primary time, anyone who was denied his authentic votes bought them restored by the Supreme Court docket. So, it’s a non-issue. Those that wish to delude themselves about it are free to do this if it makes them blissful, however it modifications nothing, completely nothing.
Because the financial realities proceed to daybreak on Nigerians, states are in a essential place the place they’ve to extend their income to fulfill their monetary obligations. What’s the Imo State Authorities doing?
I do know that after we got here in, we met a month-to-month internally generated income of about N600m. however proper now, we’ve got elevated it to about N1.5bn. That’s lots of enchancment. The federal government can also be offering an enabling setting for personal sector investments, just like the siting of a fuel plant within the state. All these are aimed toward bettering the income base of the federal government. And the federal government is consciously taking steps to enhance commerce, small and medium scale companies and all these add up the income base of the federal government. So, we’re doing effectively in that space.
There have been instances the place former governors had been accused of allegedly buying state property. Do you suppose the Imo folks can consider they gained’t witness one thing related with the present administration?
The investments I advised you about are multinational investments. The fuel plant owned by Seplat is a multinational firm that no one can hijack. This governor has no tendency for property acquisition, so such a factor can by no means occur, not beneath his watch. I can guarantee you of that.
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