Uzo Uwani: Gov. Mbah launches onslaught against assailants

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In an effort to ensure that the government flushes out remnants of criminal activities in Uzo Uwani local government area and enhance the safety and security of the people, the Enugu State governor, Dr Peter Mbah, Monday, launched a series of coordinated onslaughts against assailants and criminal elements, which led to security operatives arresting scores of suspects bearing dangerous weapons in some of the forests in the area.

The governor, who warned against self-help by some community members, said anybody or group of persons inciting and encouraging self-help would be dealt with according to the extant laws of the land, insisting that his administration would not condone people taking the laws into their hands as that falls short of all known civilised and legal norms.

While suing for peace among the Adani, Igga and other neighbouring communities in the council area who have been engaging on reprisal attacks over communal land disputes, Governor Mbah, during an unscheduled visit to both Adani and Igga communities in Uzo Uwani LGA on Sunday evening, announced that his administration had already offered scholarships and job opportunities to the children and wives of the two slain police officers and three Neighbourhood Watch operatives who lost their lives in an ambush on Friday at Ada Rice farm settlement by suspected criminals engaged by Igga community to carry attacks on innocent civilian population.

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He said security of lives and property remained the top priority of his administration, while vowing that the ongoing operations, involving combined teams of security operatives, including the police, the Department of State Services (DSS), the military and members of the Neighbourhood Watch groups, would continue until the area is completely rid of criminal elements, warning those responsible for the heinous crimes to submit themselves or face the full wrath of the law.

“One thing I can assure you today is that we’ll apprehend all the criminals responsible for this attack. We’ll make sure they face the full wrath of the law as we’ll not spare anyone involved in the crime,” he said.

Governor Mbah, who also visited  the Ada Rice Settlement, further warned the communities against taking the laws into their hands, saying grievances and challenges must be channeled to the constituted authorities for amicable resolution.

“It is unwise for you to be encouraging your people to take the law into their hands by killing people, including the security operatives. There are processes for resolving issues. If your people have any grievance, it’s for you to take it to the government. My office is always open for the people. If there is anything we need to do just to be sure that you’re all protected, we’ll do it because that is our primary duty as a government and that’s why we exist.,” the governor added.

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According to him, the state government had already deployed security intelligence across the area to ensure people returned to their farmlands, till the soil and grow their plants without fear of being harassed or have their farms destroyed.

He also enjoined the people to cooperate with the security operatives by sharing useful information with them that would lead to the arrest of the assailants infiltrating the communities and their farms.

“Our people should be able to go back to their farmlands without their farms being destroyed by anybody. We’re on top of the situation and we’re going to ensure that those coming to destroy your farms don’t come again. That is our job and I can guarantee you that. We are also calling on you to support the security operatives working tirelessly to protect you by sharing the right information with them that would lead to the arrest of the criminals,” he noted.

Speaking earlier, the representative of Adani community, Chief Nnadozie Simeon, expressed delight over the governor’s visit, saying their confidence had already been restored with the level of security deployment in the area from the state government.

He promised that his people would continue to work with the security agencies by sharing the right intelligence that would ensure rapid response, adding that the jobs and scholarships would help the families of the slain officers to recover and cater for their needs.

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On his part, the spokesman of the Igga community, Hon. Festus Okonkwo, a former councilor in Igga/Asaba ward, accused Adani community of harbouring herdsmen, and building mosque and cemetery for them despite warning against such acts.

He said they engaged the criminal elements as their only recognised security outfit in the farm settlement and its environs, stressing that the Friday ambush was as a result of Adani people visiting the farm settlement in dispute with security operatives without clearance from them.

Hon. Okonkwo further alleged that the attack on Adani community by the militants engaged by them led to the minor retaliation on two of their thatch houses and five motocycles by Adani people late hours of Saturday.

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