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Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, has granted a 10-day amnesty to bandits operating in various forests in the state.
The government ordered them to leave the forests immediately and surrender themselves and their arms to traditional rulers for unconditional pardon or face bombardment if they fail to do so.
Uzodinma said the 10-day amnesty was with immediate effect and would be visited with severe consequences if not taken seriously by the bandits.
The governor gave the directive while addressing the congregation after Sunday Service at the Government House Chapel Owerri, the Imo State capital on Sunday.
Governor Uzodinma said the state government has decided to rid the forests in Imo State of bandits and accordingly, has procured the necessary equipment for the purpose, hence the need for the assailants, who want to be reintegrated into the society to take advantage of the amnesty and quit now and hand over their arms.
He noted that “where necessary, report themselves to their traditional rulers or their Council Chairmen so that government will grant them amnesty.”
He emphasised that the period would not be extended as “those who fail to take advantage of it will have themselves to blame”.
The governor said: “The state is more determined now than before to clear all bandits and to achieve this, the expected equipment and additional recruitment of more Ebube-Agu personnel working in collaboration with the security agencies in the state will be used to clear all the waterways and ride the state of bandits including crude-oil theft. All the waterways are under surveillance with the delivery of new Naval equipment to the Naval Base in Oguta.”
Uzodinma further directed the Interim Management Committee Chairmen of the 27 Local Government Areas in the state and the newly inaugurated 52 coordinators of the development centres to resume fully in their headquarters and cooperate with their members and the Town Union President Generals to drive the government directive on security.
The governor added that the state would host the annual Army Day Celebration from June 30 to July 6, 2022, noting that no fewer than 10,000 military personnel drawn from the Army, Navy, Air Force, police, among others would be in attendance.
According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to declare open the Army Day celebration and has also fixed July 12-13 as the period he would commission the Owerri-Orlu and Owerri-Okigwe roads as well as perform the flag-off of the construction of Owerri – Mbaise – Umuahia (from Fire Service) and the Orlu-Akokwa roads and the foundation laying ceremony of the Imo International Conference Centre in Owerri.
Governor Uzodinma said the new roads will still be handled by Cranburg.
While congratulating the people of Imo State for the relative peace that has returned to the state, the governor said from Monday, June 27 “Imo State will take delivery of military equipment that will be used to clear the remnants of bandits hiding in various bushes in the state.”
He stated that the local government election would be conducted this year, adding that the ISIEC had been asked to resume the process towards the election.
Governor Uzodinma promised that “the election will be transparent, free and fair and only popular candidates will contest and win.”
He, however, urged aspirants to contest to “go and sell themselves to their people instead of coming to loiter around the Government House Owerri seeking for endorsement they will not get.”
He reiterated that his administration would leave behind a strong Local Government System that would stand the test of time.
Uzodinma, therefore, thanked the people of Imo State for their continued support for his administration, noting that “those who thought that they will destabilise the state have failed and will continue to fail”.
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