A cross section of Imo indigenes, resident in Abuja, under the auspices of Concerned Imo state Leaders have asked the State Governor, Rochas Okorocha to immediately resign over what they described as leadership incompetence and serial blunder on the most elementary duties of governance.
Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, Spokesman of the group, Chief Sam Obaji, asked the state House of Assembly to activate the impeachment clause to unseat the governor if he fails to resign over his constant disregard for the court order and the recent demolition of the Ekeukwu market in Owerri, the state capital.
The group accused the Governor of embarking on an unlawful, reckless and unprofitable demolition of the market which left a 10-year-old boy, Somtochukwu Igboanusi, dead and several others wounded.
“As leaders in Imo state from various zones and across different political party lines, we are pained that at this time, that government should focus all resources and attaining on helping to alleviate economic hardship and youth unemployment, the government of Imo state is sending struggling families to severe poverty and misery through irresponsible governance,” the group stated.
“By refusing counsel, rejecting court injunctions and going ahead to carry out the demolition of a market that has been in existence before independence in 1960, the Imo state government has provoked the anger of the people and threatened the peace of the state.
“As Chief Security Officer of the state, the governor ought to have realized that such wanton and reckless disregard sensibilities and interest of the people of the state in a democracy poses a grave challenge to national security at a time federal government is concerned about insecurity across the country.
“As leaders in Imo state, we would ordinarily support and uphold well-conceived urban renewal project in the state as we know the economic growth spill-offs of properly executed infrastructural development in the state. But what we are witnessing in Imo state is a self-interested and uncoordinated urban renewal project that consists largely of the demolition of private properties and transfer of recovered plots of lands to cronies for private development.
“The fact that the present demolition is carried out in reckless violation of a clear court order of Justice S.I. Okpara restraining the Imo state government from the demolition of the market until a determination of the suit filed by the stall owners in the market.
“In as much as it is the priority of government to determine the direction of urban renewal, we believe that a responsive and responsible government would undertake a process that minimizes hardship and disruption to the economic and social life of the citizens.
“We are very angry at this uncivilized, reckless, thoughtless and disrespectful model of governance and warned that henceforth, we will be out to fight the governor to stop him from further destroying life and livelihood in Imo state.”
However, the Imo state government, via the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Sam Onwuemeodo, dismissed the calls for the governor to resign and asked Nigerians to investigate the purported killing of a ten-year-old boy during the demolition exercise, pointing out that it is only by so doing that the truth can be known.
“We want to reiterate our demand that the reported death of a boy should be thoroughly investigated for the public to know the particular area the incident took place and the circumstances surrounding the reported death to reveal whether the whole story has anything to do with the movement of Ekeukwu Owerri Market or not,” he said.
“Again, now that the relocation has been completed, it is also left for those behind the rumours of killings, with some quoting six, some quoting five and some quoting three to tell their audience where the bodies of the rumoured dead persons are deposited and where their families can be located so that interested Nigerians can go into investigation on their own to ascertain whose Claim should be believed.
“Unfortunately, some people had taken such wicked rumours wholesale. And we are challenging those behind the Claims to come forward to authenticate their claims. That is the way to unearth the truth. And where they fail to do that, they should cover their faces in shame.
“For the reported death of the ten-year old boy, those who reported the incident should have been gentle enough to mention the area the incident took place to let the world know whether it has anything to do with the demolition of Ekeukwu Owerri Market or not.”
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