The Imo State Government has warned that it may cancel the amnesty granted some alleged criminals in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of the State by the last administration if cult-related clashes persist in the area.
Deputy Governor of the State, Rt. Hon. Gerald Irona, who gave the warning while addressing a delegation from the Area Friday in his office, expressed concern over perennial cult-related clashes in the area, describing it as unacceptable.
He frowned at the renewed violence in the area despite the amnesty granted them by the last administration, warning that the present administration will not tolerate criminality in whatever guise.
“They were granted amnesty by the last administration. They ought to have surrendered their guns and repented. Protection of lives and property is a primary business of Government. If they are still involved in cultism and terrorizing innocent citizens with arms, after accepting amnesty, the government will not fold its arms to watch them harass law abiding citizens. If this continues, we may have to cancel the amnesty granted them by the last administration.”
“We shall take urgent steps to restore law and order in the area and every part of Imo State. We shall not patronize criminals in anyway. We shall encourage them turn a new leaf, but in an event that they refuse to change, Government will take necessary steps to ensure law and order in the state.”
Earlier in his speech, leader of the delegation and Chairman, Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission-ISOPADEC, Barr. Magnus Obido lamented the lingering violence in the area, calling on the state government to come to their aid.
“We are here to seek your intervention in the unending cult-related violence in our area. As we speak, everybody in our area has run away, following renewed violence in our place. We are handicapped and that is why we are here.”
The meeting was attended by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, Raymond Nkemdirim, Chairman, Transition Committee, Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area, Hon. Damian Ezeruo, Special Adviser to the Governor on Inter Party Affairs, Hon. Jeff Ojinika, member representing Ohaji/Egbema Local Government constituency in the State House of Assembly, Hon. Cyriacus Okoro, Traditional Rulers of Awarra and Ochia, Divisional Police Officers in the area, representatives of the State Security Services.
It would be recalled that a delegation of Awarra and Ochia communities of Ohaji, in Ohaji Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State Friday called on the Deputy of the State, Rt. Hon. Gerald Irona for help in addressing the perennial security challenge in the area.