By Saby Elemba, Owerri
Ahead of this year’s Christmas and New Year festivities, governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State has told Imo indigenes and residents to cooperate with the security agencies deployed to the state to keep the peace and maintain law and order.
He spoke at the 82 Army Division in Orlu while formally flagging off this year’s Exercise Golden Dawn II of the Nigerian Army which will last from October 4, 2022 to January 4, 2023.
Uzodinma said the operation became necessary because the yuletide is a period that all “our beloved brothers and sisters far and near come home to celebrate the festive period with us.”
According to governor Uzodinma, “it is therefore the time that we need to put all security measures in place so as to have uninterrupted celebrations”, adding that, “this exercise will go a long way in improving the security situation in our state and entire geo-political zone, giving our people a sense of security and encouraging our brothers and sisters to come home without fear.”
He said we do not have any other home than Imo State, “that is why we have invested a lot in the security architecture of the state.”
He regretted that “Imo State today is being faced with various security issues ranging from armed banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, illegal oil bunkering among others,” noting that the security situation in the state did not start now and that the situation is fast improving.
And appealed to those involved in any form of criminality in the state to have a rethink and do a detour as doing so will benefit them more than delving into acts they may not know the greater implications to their future and to the society.
He further assured the security agencies that his government will continue to support them within available resources and capacity to discharge their constitutional obligations to the citizens of Nigeria in particular and the nation at large.
The Commander 34 Artillery Brigade, Brig. General S. Suleiman, said the exercise was started last year and that Thursday’s flag-off was the second edition in the series.
Suleiman said relative peace was achieved in Imo last year with the operation and that this year’s own will be an improvement on the maiden edition.
He thanked the governor for all the support that made the 2021 operation a success and solicited similar support for this year’s event.
It was also an opportunity for the army leadership to give an insight into what the security situation in Imo has been since last year the exercise was conceived and what the current situation is today and how they intend to reduce to the barest minimum cases of violent crimes in Imo and adjoining states.