Governor Hope Uzodimma has granted a 10-day window to bandits operating and hibernating in the forests in Imo State to surrender themselves and arms to their traditional rulers for unconditional pardon or risk bombardment.
The amnesty is with immediate effect and would be visited with severe consequences if not taken seriously by the bandits.
Governor Uzodimma, who spoke at the Government House Chapel, Owerri, yesterday, said government has decided to rid the forests of bandits and accordingly, has procured the necessary equipment for the purpose, hence the need for those who want to be reintegrated into the society to take advantage of the amnesty, quit and hand over their arms.
The governor also said the state would be hosting the annual Army Day celebration from June 30 to July 6, 2022 and no fewer than 10,000 military personnel drawn from the Army, Navy, Air Force, the Police, among others would be in attendance.
They would be led by the Army chief, the Naval chief, the Air Force chief, the Police chief, among others, according to the governor.
President Muhammadu Buhari who is expected to declare open the Army Day celebration has also fixed July 12 and 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.
While congratulating Imo people for the relative peace that has returned to the state, the governor explained that effective today, “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 emphasised that the period of grace 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 atate 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.”
He 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 message on security home.