From Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, has urged bandits and other violent groups terrorising the residents of Imo State to explore peaceful options in their various agitations as well have a rethink and join hands with governor Hope Uzodinma, the police and other security agencies in their quest to rid the state of crime.
According to him, he warned that they cannot continue under any guise to use extra-constitutional means to express their grievances.
The IGP who handed the warning during a launch of the Armoured Personnel Carriers procured by the state government on Tuesday in Owerri also lauded Uzodinma’s courage in tackling crime in his state.
“Imo State presents a unique security challenge as one of the major commercial heartbeats of the South East. As such, the state requires a leader with the political will to draw on scarce budgetary resources to equip and re-energise its security architecture,” he stated.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides that the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government. By this gesture, Your Excellency has not only given practical meaning to this constitutional provision but has also distinguished yourself among your political peers as a state executive with exceptional vision, courage, and unwavering commitment to addressing the fear of crime among the peace-loving people of Imo State, as well as confronting the current security threats across the state.
“In cognisance of the huge value of these procured assets, as well as the impact they will have on the internal security space of Imo State, it will be most apt to describe Your Excellency as the most security conscious, citizens-focused, and police-friendly Governor in Nigeria.
Governor Uzodinma in his speech at the brief ceremony explained that the Armoured Personnel Carriers were meant to ensure effective policing in the state.
While commending President Muhammadu Buhari as well as the security chiefs in their efforts to combat crime in the state, he added: “In this respect, I must salute the Imo State command of the Nigerian Police in a special way for their gallantry and display of uncommon professional efficiency in the fight against banditry and criminality in the recent past in the state.
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“Thanks to your courage and professionalism, we have been able to contain the criminal onslaught of hoodlums and their sponsors who vowed to make the state ungovernable for me. Their modus operandi involved vicious attacks on law enforcement officers and civilians alike, and I cannot thank you enough for coming to our rescue when it mattered most.
“Although security is on the exclusive list of the federal government, the reality is that all tiers of government must synergise to ensure the protection of property and lives of the citizenry. Since the inception of my administration, I have always worked with the federal government and the security agencies to ensure that Imo Stare is safe for our people, residents and visitors.
Therefore, what we are doing today is not a coincidence but a deliberate and sustainable effort aimed at enhancing the capacity of the police to execute their constitutional law enforcement mandate.
“As I have always said, there can be no development without peace. Let me reiterate the fact that the government under my watch, will do all we can to protect the lives and property of all citizens and residents of Imo State.
“I am aware that the sponsors of insecurity in the state are not tired of trying to make the state ungovernable for us. They continue to deploy every instrument at their disposal, including sheer blackmail, and propaganda which they easily spread via social media to misinform and incite the public against my administration.
“They even went as far as trying to set the state against the federal government and other ethnic groups by engaging in all manner of propaganda. But, they will continue to fail because they do not mean well to the people and the victory of good over evil is always assured.
“Those who will stop at nothing, including shedding the blood of innocent citizens, to get to power must know that they will be held accountable for their evil deeds either here on earth or hereafter,” Uzodinma stated.