Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha and a former Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt Hon. Emeka Ihedioha Sunday differed on the demolition of the ancient Eke Ukwu Owere market by agents of the Imo State government.
Okorocha through a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemedo said ” certain politicians in the State with the 2019 ambitions, who had laboured in vain to leverage on the relocation of Ekeukwu Owerri market from the centre of the state capital to a more reasonable and advisable site to incite traders and indigenes of Owerri to cause trouble, were behind the rumours that people were being killed during the patriotic exercise” But Ihedioha fired back in a statement he signed saying “It is obvious that this action taken in spite of a subsisting retraining court order was not only provocative but orchestrated maliciously to cow, intimidate and forcefully take over Ekeukwu market for obviously selfish objectives.
The claim by Gov. Okorocha that his wicked action was motivated by the need to flush out kidnappers and drug dealers is not only hollow but a shameless display of his usual white lies” Okorocha’s Chief Press Secretary statement reads in part” Again, now that the relocation has been completed, it is also left for those behind the rumours of killings, with some quoting six, some quoting five and some quoting three to tell their audience where the bodies of the rumoured dead persons are deposited and where their families can be located so that interested Nigerians can go into investigation on their own to ascertain whose Claim should be believed” “Unfortunately, some people had taken such wicked rumours wholesale. And we are Challenging those behind the Claims to come forward to authenticate their claims. That is the way to unearth the truth. And where they fail to do that, they should cover their faces in shame” “For the reported death of the ten-year old boy, those who reported the incident should have been gentle enough to mention the area the incident took place to let the world know whether it has anything to do with the demolition of Ekeukwu Owerri Market or not” “Those who witnessed the incident should come out to tell the truth on the reported demise of the boy, whether there was any clash between the displaced hoodlums from the market who had trooped to Ama-Hausa in anger to attack the Hausas there and perhaps loot dollars of those of them in exchange business, and also say whether some of the hoodlums especially the Cultists among them had fired gun shots to scare away people and so on we are keen in the truth”
Ihedioha disagreed saying that “His (Okorocha) penchant for primitive acquisition of property is well known and clearly at the core of his motive for this act of cowardice. No doubt, thousands of Imo citizens have been thrown out of job, a number of whom may become security risks. The blood of innocent victims of that Black Saturday and the latent consequences of this action will surely hang on his head” He continued “Most unfortunate and regrettable is the fact that Gov. Okorocha has once again usurped and appropriated unto himself the powers and Authority of the Commander -in -Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to order the deployment of men of the Armed Forces in matters relating to the Internal Security of the State. Owerri and indeed Imo State is not and was not in a state of war at the time of this action”
The 2015 Imo State PDP Governorship candidate expressed “hope that the security high command will take appropriate actions to stem this tide of anomy and bring all culprits to book no matter how highly placed” “Perhaps, this incident may necessitate drawing the attention of the Nation’s Security Agencies of the determination of Gov. Okorocha to flagrantly abuse official privileges in festering his distasteful governance of lawlessness and serial abuse of the well cherished rule of law.
The Nigerian Police, Imo State Command is once more reminded of its responsibility to the citizenry particularly in a civil democracy. It cannot continue to be a repressive tool in the hands of Gov. Okorocha and his cohorts” “This reign of terror must not be allowed to take roots in our state because ours is a civilized society” He sent his condolences to the family of “the innocent deceased particularly Mr. Mbanusi, who lost his 10 year old only son (Somtochukwu), in that wicked incident and equally for those who lost their means of livelihood in this period of hardship. In spite of the provocations, I must urge all of us to maintain the peace and be law abiding”