Gunmen, Saturday morning, attacked the private home of the governor of Imo State, Mr. Hope Uzodinma, burning part of the building and vehicles parked in the compound. They killed two security aides.
The governor’s country home is located in Omuma, Oru East Local Government Area of the state. The attack came a day after Governor Uzodinma met with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House, Abuja, where he requested that more security operatives be sent to Imo.
The government has spoken officially about the incident. The Commissioner for Information, Declan Emelumba, told journalists Saturday that few casualties were recorded in the exchange of gunfire between the attackers and security men.”Gallant security operatives this morning repelled an attack on the Omuma country home of the governor of Imo State, Sen Hope Uzodimma. At about 9 am today, Saturday, April 24, a group of hoodlums numbering about 15 in a motorcade of three vehicles, accompanied by a tipper loaded with used tyres, stormed the country home of the governor and attempted to burn down the house. However, vigilant security operatives attached to the governor’s house successfully repelled the attack.”
Emelumba explained that in the ensued crossfire, “a few casualties” were recorded. He said preliminary investigation suggested that the foiled attack might have been “politically sponsored.” He said the governor had directed the relevant security agencies to expedite investigation into the incident, promptly apprehend the sponsors and their agents and bring them to justice. “Yes, I can confirm the story. The hoodlums attacked the governor’s house by throwing in petrol bombs, as a result of which two cars were burnt, but the attackers were successfully repelled,” he said. “None of the buildings was set ablaze. However, one unarmed officer of the NSCDC was killed in the process. The hoodlums, while escaping, also killed a police sergeant and another NSCDC officer, both in their private vehicles at Mgbidi junction.”
The attack on the private property of the governor is the climax of serial attacks by gunmen on police and prison facilities since February 2021. Within that period there have been six such attacks at Obowo, Aboh Mbaise, Ihite/Uboma, Isiala Mbano, Ehime Mbano, and now Mbiere, as well as the police headquarters in the state in Owerri.
Insecurity has been a big challenge in the southeast generally, leading the governors in the region to set up a joint security structure to help bring down the level of violent crime there. Usually, the reason is financial. However, the attack on the home of the Imo governor would appear to have a political motive as Mr. Emelumba had suggested.
Mr. Uzodinma, a candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had apparently lost the 2019 governorship election to his PDP opponent, according to the result announced by INEC. However, the Court of Appeal reversed the outcome, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in January 2020. That did not go down well with some politicians who have vowed to make Imo ungovernable.
Their conduct goes contrary to standard democratic norms. They had their chances at both the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court where they lost the legal battle. Having failed, they are now resorting to self-help, which includes the cowardly use of physical violence. We condemn very strongly what happened at the home of the Imo governor, not just because he was the target but also because other persons died who had nothing to do with the politics of the state.
We support the call for a thorough investigation of the attack on the governor’s compound and the attacks before that. The perpetrators must be fished out and punished – to serve as deterrence.