The Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodimma has justified the destruction of Eke-Ututu market on Saturday following lamentations, loss of lives and properties of the residents of the area.
Newsonline reports that Uzodimma said the raid by combined security agencies was to keep the state safe from the activities of bandits who are terrorizing the state.
Governor Uzodimma disclosed that a confession from an arrested bandit confirmed that the market was being used to manufacture improvised Explosive Devices (IED) that bandits have been using to cause mayhem in the state.
Recall that social media were filled with gory images of security raids at Eke-Ututu market in Orsu Local Government Area.
It was reported that Security operatives allegedly raided and burnt some shops in the market after materials for Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were allegedly uncovered in the place.
Speaking on the development at the Government House in Owerri, on Wednesday, Uzodinma told newsmen that bandits operating in the area use the IEDs to fight security operatives.
He said, “Last Saturday, a joint security force, which arrested a bandit, took him after his confession to guide them to where they operate from and manufacture the explosives. It turned out to be Eke-Ututu Market.
“They discovered four shops where fertilizers, ammonium sulphate and electrical gadgets used in manufacturing explosives were packed.”
He further added, “In the process, they burnt down shops and this is consistent with our policy.
“However, they were so tactful that no innocent life was lost. They were able to destroy all the shops where the items were stored.”
The Imo State governor added that traders were not allowed into the market “without paying taxes to unknown gunmen.”
“These are illegitimate taxes to enable people to open their shops. This is what we have been fighting all through.
Uzodimma added, “It is not politics. It’s about the security of lives and property of our people. So, when Eke-Ututu Market is destroyed to give Imo peace, the Government will also rebuild it.
“If in the process, there are innocent traders who lost their items, the Government will work out compensation for them. But the government has a responsibility to fight crime.”
Uzodimma further disclosed that a Major in the Nigerian Army on duty around Orsu Awo-Idemili died last month from an explosion from the device.
He said the Captain, who led the operation, together with another officer, was currently lying critical at the Federal Medical Centre, Owerri.