The Imo State governor, Hope Uzodinma, on Friday urged the nation’s security and intelligence agencies to publish names of politicians allegedly sponsoring the current spate of banditry across the country.
This is even as he disclosed that about 50 suspects had been arrested in connection with the recent attacks on police and correctional facilities in the state, maintaining that the attacks were carried out by persons from within the state, other Southeast states and non-Igbo.
Uzodinma said this while fielding questions from State House Correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
He alleged that the violent criminal activities sweeping through the country were being sponsored by opposition elements called “Sponsors of Bandits”, with the intent to discredit the incumbent administration.
He further alleged that those Sponsors of Bandits were using them to distract the Buhari’s administration, accusing the sponsors of engaging in a diabolic version of politicking, which he described as anti-people.
According to him, the sort of issues that ought to have been the concern of the people, which he said are all about the provision of infrastructural and social amenities, was already being provided.
Uzodinma, however, urged Nigerians not to allow these elements to destroy the unity and diversity of the country, which he described as a blessing from God and the nation’s unit strength.
“I don’t think that I will support any call for cessation, I want a united, strong Nigeria. Our strength is in our diversity and today, we are supposed to play a leading role in this continent.
“We don’t want to whittle down our strength. Rather, what I advise is that we must appreciate the gift of nature, in our land and support government. Listen, let me tell you something, this country is blessed by God.
“From 2015 till today, I thought what the problem would be is people saying that there’s no job creation, people are not feeding, salaries are not paid, infrastructure is going down, social interventions are not approved by the government. These things are there, available, a pass mark for the government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Now, people are no longer talking about that, rather what they are doing is to be sponsors of Bandits and cause a crisis, to the extent that those funding this banditry are politicians, which I challenge and call on security agencies to make their names available to the press because what they want to do is to distract a government that is focused.
“If this government is not doing well, I’ll be one of those that has to declare the government as not doing well, but a situation where you’ll live the formal way, ethical way of doing politics, and you are now sponsoring banditry to bring down a government, for Christ’s sake, we should rise up and condemn it, all of us”, he said.
Speaking about the recent violent attacks on police stations and the correctional facilities in the state, the governor said they were attacks carried out by both people from within and from outside the state, adding that not less than 50 suspects had been arrested and helping with useful information.
“It’s not only CCTV, but some of those arrested by security agencies, some of them also are not from Imo State or the Southeast, it was a combination of those within the state and those from outside the state. As at the last count, we arrested almost 40 to 50 people, who also made useful statements and confessed to the crime.
Uzodinma, however, called on all Nigerians to support the government and the security forces in the fight against insecurity, explaining that the work of securing society is not restricted, but required all citizens and leadership at all levels.
“I continue to tell you that this issue of insurgence is something that we must all rise up as people to condemn and then support security agencies to be able to provide an enabling environment for people to go about their businesses, without fear of any molestation.
“The job of security of a country cannot be left to security agencies alone. The job requires the citizenry to support security agencies through intelligence gathering, also government at all levels, including traditional leaderships, to support government because the bandits stay among us, the criminals live among us and if we’re not in a position to report them or report their activities to security agencies, then we are undoing ourselves.
“So I encourage everybody to see this as a collective challenge that all of us must join hands expose these “Sponsors of bandits”; whether you are from the local government, community level, to state, up to the federal government, we must join hands because we don’t have another country.
“The only country we can beat our chests and call our own is Nigeria and we must work to towards ensuring that the integrity of our country, the security situation in our country, is such that allows people, residents and citizens to go about their businesses without the fear of molestation.
“Any problem anywhere, in any part of the country is also a problem everywhere in the country. Today it may be Imo State, you don’t know when it will be your own state. So if we don’t come now and nip this thing in the bud, it means that one day we may not have a country. So let us defend our country, it is very important”, he said.
On the purpose of his visit to the Aso Rock Villa, the governor, said he visited the President on the issue of security in Imo State, as well as to request for federal assistance in bettering welfare and equipment of security agencies in the state, also lauded President Buhari for showing genuine concerns for the people of his state.
“I know the genuine interests of the President for Nigerians, I have had series of discussions and at every given time I’ve asked for one intervention or the other, it is given to me and it is for the interest of my people. But then, for those things to function, we need an enabling environment. That is why the enemies of progress, not deterred by the progress the government is making, are now out to scuttle good governance.
“Opposition and politics are about the people. Democracy is the government of the people, by the people and for the paper. Sponsors of bandits Why are people hiring people to kill the people? There is no responsible government that will not want those who voted him or her to power to the happy and this government I have seen is a responsible government. This party, APC, is a responsible party.
“That is why some of us are members of this party and we promised that we’ll deliver to our people, and I’m committed that this government will deliver.
However, I think we are rising to the occasion. I can tell you that sooner than later, today will become a thing of the past and Nigeria will move forward”, he said.