Buhari, Uzodinma hold talks over ‘Orlu unrest’

By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau 

Apparently to brief the President on the ongoing military operations in his domain, Imo State Governor Hope Uzodinma Tuesday held a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Speaking to State House Correspondents after the meeting, Uzodinma revealed that he was at the seat of government to give President Buhari a progress report on the military operations in Orlu, Imo state. 

Said he: “You recall, during the #ENDSARS protests, a lot of properties were damaged in Imo state, police stations were burnt down, soldiers were killed, their rifles removed from them. And immediately after the #ENDSARS, we thought it was over then issues of kidnapping, where you know, a Catholic bishop was kidnapped.

And this militants come out and began to shoot. We’ve lost lives, market women were killed, old women were raped in Orlu area of Imo state and they visited this serious terror on the citizenry. And then, I came here, pleaded with  Mr. President for his support and he sent additional support by sending in police and the military also came in. 

And that is where we are. It was on my invitation that the military came. And I did that because I know the situation was beyond the local arrangement, we needed help. And the help was given to us. And as I speak to you the situation has come down to normal, people are now going about their  businesses. And those caught will soon be charged to court. And all those military riffles  from the army, the police, AK 47, and so on, were recovered by the people that came. 
Asked why he invited military rather than employing dialogue like his northern colleagues are doing, Uzodinma replied thus:

“Well, I don’t know what you mean. I told you that our initial intelligence and the efforts to control the sporadic shootings in Orlu that led to many dead, innocent women in the market, people selling food  foodstuffs dead by a group of people that we were not able to identify, preliminary intelligence revealed where they were in a bush, our local police and local military went there and were confronted, were repelled. 

“So we discovered that the people had serious firing power. And that, of course, Nigeria, is a federation, Imo state is a federating unit, and all over the world, you have Provincial Police,  you have Federal police. So there was a need for me to report situation and that I did and we were supported to deal with the situation. 

“It is not about crushing anybody and those that came didn’t do any crushing. Those that came through their intelligence identify where these people were and I can tell you, all the people arrested, all the rifles recovered are intact, the people are under interrogation, not even one, not even one soldier, or one of those militants died in the process. I must commend DCP Abba Kyari for a brilliant job he did. So let anybody politicize it. But I have a responsibility to protect the lives of my people.

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