Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State has assured the northern community residing in the state of government’s protection always, saying that they are part and parcel of Imo State.
“This is where you live. This is where you do your business. You are stakeholders in Imo State. Sit in your house and defend yourself and protect your house. Nobody will drive you away,” Governor Uzodimma told the leadership of the northern community who held a meeting with him at the Government House Owerri at the weekend.
The leadership of the northern community said they had come to pay a solidarity visit to Governor Uzodimma and to solicit his continued support to them in the face of recent pockets of insecurity affecting them.
Governor Uzodimma who told the northerners that they are taxpayers in Imo State admonished them not to be “tenants in your house,” adding, “once you are here doing your business you are from Imo State.”
The governor told them that “every protection or support I can give to the Igbo man from Imo State I will also give to a northerner who is in Imo State.”
Governor Uzodimma reminded them again that they voted for him overwhelmingly and that government has a programme for them that will help them live well and conduct their businesses properly.
He told them that government has taken note of the development in their habitation and assured them that it will not happen again.
“This government has no time for nonsense. Don’t go for self help. Government will help you. No arrangement by any person or group will be stronger than that of government. All we need from you is information. Pray for the souls of those who lost their lives,” the Governor informed the group.
Governor Uzodimma who thanked the leaders of the northern community for their maturity and understanding of the events happening in Imo State of late noted that the development has nothing to do with herdsmen, but the “conspiracy of some blood thirsty and greedy political leaders from the state working to ensure that state of emergency is declared in Imo State.”
“They want to create impression that the people are fighting the northerners. But unfortunately their plans did not work and will not work. Blood means nothing to them and that is the difference between them and us,” Governor Uzodimma explained.
The governor said because the political leaders in question know that the northern community in Imo State is supporting him they decided to go after them. He quipped: “those who are after you are after me and God will not allow them to succeed.”
Governor Uzodimma therefore promised to enhance the security in all the places they reside in Imo State.
Earlier, leader of the delegation, Alhaji Adamu Baba Sule told the Governor that they came to give both moral support and pledge their solidarity.
He said regardless of the recent development, “Imo State remains the most peaceful and most accommodating to the northerners in the South East.”
He regretted that “bad political leaders in Imo State conspire with others elsewhere to cause problem for the people,” and pleaded with Governor Uzodimma to beef up security at their places of abode.
They also reminded the government that most of those being mowed down by bandits as herdsmen are Imo indigenes who practise Islam as their religion.