Some fiery youths reportedly attacked Governor Hope Uzodinma on Sunday in Mmahu community during his condolence visit to families of victims of a truck accident.
Reports says the youths accused him of stealing votes in the election that brought him into office but Oguwike Nwachuku, the governor’s press secretary denied the reports altogether, offering a different chain of events.
“Youths of Mmahu community upon sighting the governor’s convoy “Onye Oshi vote, Onye Oshi vote. They were throwing bottles and weapons at the bulletproof SUV of the governor,” said one eyewitness.
State police has since confirmed some unidentified persons attacked the governor’s car while he was inside the palace of the traditional ruler of the community addressing stakeholders.
Nwachuku however insisted that the governor’s vehicle was smashed by youths who fingered security operatives for supporting the oil companies rather than their kinsmen.
He added in a statement released that the angry youths asked Uzodinma to address them and not just traditional rulers, community leaders and the bereaved families.
It reads in part, “Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State was not attacked at Ohaji/Egbema on Sunday contrary to devilish propaganda being peddled by the opposition.
“The Governor was at Mmahu area of Ohaji/Egbema to sympathise with the community that lost three of their kinsmen on Friday following an accident that involved a truck belonging to an oil firm operating in the area.
“The killing enraged the youths in Mmahu, causing their leaders to reach out to the governor to visit the community to call the oil firm to order.
“Governor Uzodinma who was sober condoled with the families who lost their loved ones, as he addressed the leaders of the community at the Eze’s Palace.
“While the Governor was addressing the families, some boys among the aggrieved youths were heard making noise outside, accusing the security operatives of supporting the Oil companies and demanding that Governor Uzodinma should address them too.
“While the security operatives tried to calm them down and control the noise, one of them allegedly hid behind others and threw a stone at one of the official vehicles of the Governor where they were parked and in the process smashed the back glass.
“He was promptly arrested by the security present. While this drama was playing out, Governor Uzodinma was still inside the hall addressing the traditional ruler, community leaders and the bereaved families.
“Contrary to the claims that he was attacked, there is no truth in it as the meeting Governor Uzodinma had with the leaders of the community was fruitful while the families of the deceased were happy he came.
“Meanwhile, one Mr Uzochukwu Chukuwukere who is the Vice Chairman of Egbema Youth wing said to have thrown a stone that damaged the windscreen of one of the vehicles has been arrested and has made useful statement to the security operatives.
“Addressing the leaders and families of the deceased, Governor Uzodinma called for calm and peace while promising to deal with the situation that led to the killings.
“The governor called on the people to remain peaceful and not to take laws into their hands.
His words: “I will not be a party to anything that will be against my people, I will enjoin all of you to remain calm as the government will take all necessary steps to ensure that such thing doesn’t happen again.
“You must help me to help you, if you try to take laws into your hands for self-help, then I will not be with you. I can only be with you if you challenge me to solve the problem, in which case you must follow my rules and I will assure you of results.”
‘The governor expressed worries over the hazardous method used by the oil company in trucking crude instead of the conventional method of laying pipes and promised that he will tackle the issue head-on with the company to forestall future re-occurrence.
“While assuring the people that under his watch the problems of Ohaji/Egbema will be solved, Governor Uzodinma reiterated that he will ensure that money meant for the development of the area will be put to good use.”
The youth who reportedly smashed the Governor’s car has been arrested.