*Says Opposition PDP Trying To Make Political Capital From The Incident*
Senator Hope Uzodimma, governor of Imo State, Wednesday, gave reasons why the popular Eke Ututu market was burnt, revealing that the place was discovered by security agencies as a safe haven for the production of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) by criminal elements and bandits.
Speaking to newsmen at Government House, Owerri, the governor appealed to all Imo indigenes, including leaders, men, women, youths, and those resident and visiting the state, who posses information of where bandits are hiding in the state, not to hesitate to avail such information to his administration.
According to him, based on security report available to his administration, the market became a hiding place for bandits and kidnappers, who compelled traders to pay taxes and manufacture IEDs, which they use to operate within and outside the area.
He revealed that an Army Major working in the state had fallen victim to the IED planted at Eke Ututu as he was killed after stepping on the locally manufactured bomb device unknowingly.
The governor stated that luckily enough, one of the bandits nabbed at their camp at Orsu Ihitte Ukwa, revealed to the military of their mode of operation within the vicinity, including where they maintain shops for fertilizer and other gadgets at Eke Ututu where they manufacture the IEDs.
He said on the day the military proceeded to the market with the arrested bandit, the captain also mistakenly stepped on an IED that was hidden at the place and in the process, he was seriously injured that he had to be admitted at the intensive care unit of the Federal Medical Centre, Owerrri.
He noted that the loss of the army senior officer and the wounding of another, angered his colleagues, which prompted the Armed forces to authorize a combined operation involving their men from the Imo and Anambra States at Orsu Ihitte Ukwa, mainly the Eke Ututu axis and its neighboring state of Anambra.
Uzodimma stated that it was in the process that security agencies burnt down the market, noting that his government will stop at nothing in the fight against terrorism, banditry and kidnapping in Imo State. He also assured that it will be pursued to a conclusive end.
He accused the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and their members of trying to make political capital of the incident, stating that there is no doubt that they have a hand in the spate of banditry, kidnapping and other forms of criminality in Imo State.
“This is not politics, it is about the security of lives and property of our people. And anybody who wants to play politics with this should be ready to face history that will judge all of us.” He said