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Gunmen attacks: Gov. Uzodinma declares war against prison escapees

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  • As Imo CP deploys Special Forces to remote communities

By Sunday Elom N, AwkaandChuks Uzochukwu,Owerri

Few hours after gunmen attacked the residence of a lawmaker representing Orsu Constituency in Imo State House of Assembly, Hon. Ekene Nnodumele, killing his gateman and setting his house ablaze, the Commissioner of Police, Imo State Command, CP Abutu Yaro, has ordered immediate deployment of Police Special Forces to remote communities to track down criminal elements.

In a statement issued by the Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Bala Elkana, the CP who charged the police officers to “deal ruthlessly with the criminal elements disturbing the hinterlands” said it has become a matter of urgency to deploy police personnel to rural as hoodlums displaced from Owerri the capital city and other major cities in the state have resorted to causing havocs in remote communities.

Yaro however advised the Special Forces to carry out their statutory duties in line with Nigeria’s extant laws and global best practices, emphasizing that they must be polite to members of the public in order to ensure maintenance of law and order.

The Police Commissioner provided hot lines for members of the public to call when there is an emergency situation, while he assured that the Forces are to “provide watertight security to the various communities in the hinterlands and round the clock protection to commuters plying the major roads across the State.”

Recall that in recent times, Imo State, particularly police stations, Nigeria Correctional Centre and other government facilities have been overshadowed by a series of attacks by “unknown gunmen.”

However, when it seems that the combined forces of the Nigerian Army, the police and other security operatives have restored peace and normalcy in Owerri the state capital, the attackers have resorted to unleashing mayhem in rural communities.     

Orient Daily reported how in the early hours of Wednesday 16 June, 2021, some hoodlums attacked the hometown of Hon. Ekene Nnodumele and the immediate past Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Cyprian Akaolisa at Ebenato community in Orsu Local Government Area of the State.

Although the activities of the hoodlums who reported disguised as local vigilante members were eventually aborted by the Police, other agencies and the vigilant members of the community; they killed four persons including the Hon. Nnodumele’s gateman.

The police commissioner said that “four of the hoodlums were fatally injured during gun battle with security forces, others escaped with bullet wounds while the area the fleeing hoodlums ran into is combed, cordon and search operation is ongoing to mob up the criminal elements.” 

Yaro therefore assured Imolites of their safety at all times, regardless of where they reside. He maintained that No part of Imo State will be neglected in the security plans of the Command while he called on the people to be vigilant at all times and report any suspicious person(s) or movements to the Police or other security agencies nearest to them through the following hotlines: 08034773600, 08108645754 and 08098880197.

In a related development, the state Governor, Hope Uzodinma when he visited the State Police Command Headquarters to commiserate with the Nigerian Police Force over the officers who lost their lives during recent attacks in the state, charged the officers to show no mercy on any criminal disrupting the peace of the state. 

The Governor further reiterated the commitment of his government to ensure that all those apprehended and found guilty for criminal involvement are made to face the deserved wrath of the law. 

“I have observed that some of these local thieves that ran away from prison yards are still breathing and operating in our rural communities. Please go after them. Spare no one.  Arrest them and charge them back to court because the court will quickly sentence them back to prison. 

“I want to assure you that all criminals, suspects and bandits that have been apprehended would be charged to court and the government will follow the prosecution and make sure that those found guilty by the court are made to serve the punishment as proscribed by the court,” the governor said.

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