9th November, 2022
By Peter Okolie
Governor Hope Uzodimma has expressed sadness over the unfortunate events that occurred in Izombe, Oguta Local Government Area of the state recently, which led to the loss of lives and destruction of property.
Mr Declan Emelumba, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, decried the incident in a statement signed on Wednesday in Owerri.
Gunmen had attacked patrolling officers of the 34 Artillery Brigade of the Nigerian Army at Izombe community on Saturday.
Capt. Joseph Akubo said the event which occurred on Saturday followed an increase in oil bunkering and criminal activities that led to the death of a truck driver.
However, Emelumba said in spite of the advice by the government on the need for restraints despite provocations, the fracas between illegal oil bunkerers and security agencies were allowed to snowball into fatal violence.
“Government also understands that the security agencies went on a reprisal attack after losing one of their own.
“But, since two wrongs cannot make a right, the matter instead of abating, escalated. The government insists that no matter the situation, the rules of engagement must always apply,” Emelumba stated.
He expressed the state government’s sympathies with the families of those, who lost either their loved ones or property in the ill-advised violence.
The Commissioner also disclosed that Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo had already ordered a holistic investigation into the remote and immediate causes of the crisis.
“While Government awaits the report of the investigation, both parties to the conflict are advised to maintain the peace.
“While the security agencies are urged to always ensure the maintenance of rules of engagement, the civilian populace is encouraged to refrain from provoking the men in uniform no matter the temptation,” Emelumba advised.
He said Government will continue to do all within its powers to ensure a harmonious relationship among all segments of the Imo populace.