BROADCAST BY GOVERNOR HOPE UZODINMA OF IMO STATE TO THE PEOPLE ON OCTOBER 20, 2020.
My esteemed good people of Imo State, recent developments in the country and the attendant attempt by unpatriotic elements in our state to buy into it to ignite social unrest in the state has made this address necessary.
I have watched with utter dismay the attempt by unscrupulous elements to hijack an otherwise peaceful protest by our youths to unleash mayhem in the state.
Everyone is aware of the demands of the youths in different parts of the country; mainly for the scrapping of the special police unit known as SARS because of the alleged brutal tactics employed by them in dealing with members of the public. The also asked for the reform of the police force and better conditions of service.
I personally addressed the protesting youths in Owerri and assured them that my government will not support any form of police brutality against our people. I also gave them my word that I will lend my support for a refined police force that will treat citizens with dignity and respect.
Fortunately, President Buhari did not prevaricate in acceeding to the demands of the EndSARS protesters. He has ordered for the disbanding of SARS and also approved for the immediate reform of the police force. It was to be expected that with these instant concessions by the Presidency, the protests would have abated.
But the contrary is the case as the protests have persisted This development is creating the impression that the protests may not have been solely motivated by the desire to end SARS or to secure assurance of police reform.
Sadly, some unscrupulous and unpatriotic elements in Imo State have concluded arrangements to hide under the end SARS protests to sponsor some youths to embark on new protests in the State. I understand that the sponsors of the protests are using the state of roads in the state to further persuade the youths to embark on the action. This is most unpatriotic and unfortunate.
Perhaps I may need to remind all us that when I came into office in January this year, I was confronted with a sordid state of decayed infrastructure including bad roads. I also met a completely empty treasury.
But as one who canvassed for your votes, I knew that I had to address these problems, more so I also have capacity and vision to do so. Consequently I refrained from bemoaning the state of affairs or engaging in blame games.
This was why I asked the contractors engaged by my predecessor for the construction of the roads he awarded to continue. But many of them fled site and failed to return inspite of the repeated threats I issued . Perhaps they were afraid of disclosing the underhand dealings they had with that administration.
You will bear me witness that I have never failed to bring you up to speed in happenings concerning governance in our state. Right from when the Coronavirus hit our state, you were informed of the efforts made by government to contain the scourge and safeguard the lives of our citizens. This is because from day one I vowed to run an open, honest and transparent government.
It is not by accident that our dear state has consistently recorded the least Covid 19 cases in the country. It is a product of my government's tenacious application to duty and my resolve to protect the precious lives of our people.
Inspite of the debilitating drawbacks we encountered at inception, ranging from an empty treasury , made worse by the absence of a hand over note to the daunting challenges of the COVID19 pandemic, my government has remained proactive in addressing the infrastructure decay by rehabilitating some roads in Owerri and some other parts of the state , while work is on going in many other parts of the state.
For the avoidance of doubt, the following roads have been completed in only about eight months in office.
Among the completed and commissioned roads are;
1. Aladinma ring roads
2. Ring roads behind Concorde Hotel, Owerri
3. Douglas Road
4. Oparanozie Street
5. Edede street
6. Mcc - Relief market road
The following are ongoing;
1. Akachi Road
2. World bank/Umuguma road
3. Chukwuma Nwoha road
4. Ohii Orogwe road
5. MCC Urrata road
6. Nekede Ihiagwa road
7. St Mary's catholic church road, Okigwe
8. Mgbidi Orlu Road
9. World bank Federal secretariat road
10. Mbonu Ojike street
11. Warehouse/Umezurike/Emmanuel college road
12. Assumpta/ Ibari Ogwa etc.
Government will speedily attend to the on going roads as soon as the rains are over. Although we inherited the bad roads, I accept that it is our responsibility to fix them. This we have started in earnest. And we will certainly continue without fail.
Right now massive road maintenance is on going all over Owerri state capital. This is the much that can be done in the rains to ensure that dangerous pot holes are filled.
Anyone expecting that serious road construction can continue in the heat of this raining season is only being crassly dishonest.
it is therefore sad and regrettable that some disgruntled and failed politicians want to make political capital out of the state of the roads to destabilise the peace and cause confusion .
Security reports available to government indicate that these unpatriotic elements have concluded an unholy plan to infiltrate the current endSARS peaceful protest by our youths to stage a violent protest in our dear state. I want to urge our patriotic youths to shun these elements as their is no justifiable reason to visit the sins of previous administrations on a government that is clearly working hard to right the wrongs of the past.
Let me commend the youths of lmo State for their peaceful conduct so far even as they joined their counterparts all over Nigeria to condemn police brutality and seek for far reaching reforms that would lead to a more responsive and responsible policing in our country.
I am happy that President Muhammadu Buhari has already taken steps to implement the demands of the youths. Apart from disbanding SARS , the federal government has released 38 billion Naira to the police trust fund to kick start a holistic reform of the police.
Equally the 36 state governors are currently engaging the police high command to realise the wishes of our youths.
Only yesterday I set up a judicial commission of inquiry to investigate the alleged human rights abuses by the disbanded SARS.
All these actions pioint to the undisputable fact that the expectations of the protests are being honesty addressed by both the Federal and State governments.
This is why the determination of some unpatriotic elements to infiltrate the genuine protesters, and escalate tension and unleash violence in the state should not be condoned
Because I will not want an avoidable incident that can lead to loss of lives to occur in the state, I will do all that is needful to maintain peace and security for all Imo people.
Consequently, to ensure that the peace in the state is not disturbed, a 24 hour curfew is hereby imposed in the state till furthernotice. This means that there will be no movement in the state either in the daytime or at night, except for those on approved essential services. The curfew is with immediate from 12 midnight today October 20th.
Thank you all and God Bless
Sen Hope Uzodimma
Governor, Imo State