Imo State’s security situation is deteriorating as unidentified gunmen and kidnappers now control the majority of the state.
According to DAILY POST, even the normally quiet Owerri Senatorial district is quickly evolving into the newest hotspot.
Since the start of Senator Hope Uzodinma’s administration three years ago, the Orlu and Okigwe zones have faced terrible insecurity that has led to at least 1,000 deaths and the destruction of property worth hundreds of millions of naira.
The Owerri zone, the only one of the three that the gunmen spared from their assaults, assassinations, kidnappings, and even arson, is steadily losing its cherished reputation as the state’s most tranquil region.
In the last three months, it has quickly become a flashpoint.
Ngor Okpala, one of the hardest hit, has experienced three deadly gunman attacks over the past three months. The first incident took place in the last week of March when gunmen ambushed civil defense corps members who were on patrol along the continually busy Orishueze-Eche Road, instantly murdering three persons and critically injuring another two.
On April 21, 2023, five additional police officers were brutally killed at the Okpala junction axis in the Ngor-Okpala council area after entering a canteen on the Owerri-Aba Express Road by gunmen who are said to have been pursuing the cops.
Sadly, the husband and woman who owned the canteen died alongside the security personnel because the thugs did not spare them.
Just one week ago, on Saturday, gunmen ambushed a checkpoint at Okpala Junction in the Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of the State again, killing two police officers and injuring one.
As residents in the area continued to lament the frequent attacks, the most recent attack prompted alarm and discontent in a great number of local towns.
Chief Chibuzo Nwachukwu, a resident of the Umuhu village in the Ngor-Okpala LGA, told Daily Post that nobody in the neighborhood any longer sleeps with their eyes closed.
“Tension is present everywhere,” he declared.
“The hub had been Orlu where destruction of life and property resulted from a confrontation between the gunmen who started by attacking police stations and security personnel, but it appears the focus has now turned to Owerri Zone, where there has been a spate of gun violence over the past three months by the killing squad,” he said.
“At the moment, we don’t feel secure since we are terrified, constantly on high alert, and lock our gates and doors as early as 7 pm to keep out trespassers.
I fervently beg the security services to look into the situation as quickly as possible in order to find and capture the individuals responsible for this horrific murder.
Additionally, research indicates that in recent times, attacks by masked gunmen have become commonplace in the Amakohia Ubi neighborhood in Owerri West, another council district in Owerri Zone.
Residents of the neighborhood, which shares a border with the Agwa community in the Oguta LGA, have expressed regret over reports that three people were fatally murdered on Monday as the sit-at-home order was being enforced by unidentified gunmen from the Agwa axis.
According to a community source who requested anonymity and worked for Umuoka Amakohia Ubi, Chidiebere Akunna, a police officer who wasn’t wearing a uniform but was on his way home from work that morning, was the first victim.
He claimed that the second victim, a minibus driver known as Bus Imo, had been shot dead and his vehicle had been set on fire. According to reports, the victim’s parents were police officers assigned to the former Fire Service Police Station.
After dealing with their victims and plundering a few stores, the gunmen, according to him, were on their way to Ndegwu when they abruptly turned around and returned to the Agwa axis.
The insider added that as soon as they zoomed off, the military arrived with their armored vehicle and other military hardware.
We are at war, and the sooner our leaders realize this, the better for all of us, said Nze Opara, another local. He compared the situation in the Owerri zone to “war.” We want the authorities to step in and save the community members from the hoodlums’ clutches.
Opara made additional pleas to the government to step in and end the persistent hoodlum infiltration of the neighborhood.
While confirming some of the attacks, the Police Public Relations Officer, Henry Okoye, urged the people of Imola to support the police and other sister security agencies in the fight against terrorism and to report any suspicious activity or individuals who are seen carrying a gun or attending to a gunshot wound to the nearest police station.