Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo state said Tuesday that those destroying national assets must be dealt with because they are attacking the sovereignty of Nigeria.
The governor said this while fielding questions from State House correspondents after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja.
“At this point we are not dealing with only feelings, we must tie our feelings to national interest. It is not about sentimental feelings; it is about knowing that these are federal government assets and you wake up willingly and destroy it. What you are destroying is the sovereignty of the country and we should not encourage that.
“Whatever decision the government has taken, there are two things involved; either you respect the government and not destroy her assets or you destroy government assets and face the consequences.
“Let us not pretend as if all is well, all is not well. Leaders must rise to ensure that they work hand in hand with the government to ensure there is security in the country. Have you seen a situation where people will wake up and take busses to a school, kidnap 200 students and drive away, asking for ransom, What type of a situation is that?
“This is not the society we know. We should all be worried. We should all get involved. In Imo state for instance, only me cannot restore security, only me cannot guarantee that. I have to work with traditional rulers, opinion leaders and youth leaders to be able to deploy a community kind of security programme, in order to be able to resist what is going on today,” he said.
He said former political office holders who fail to speak out against the activities of troublemakers are not being fair to the country.
He assured Nigerians that peace is gradually returning to Imo state, stressing that businessmen could visit the state.
“Everywhere in Nigeria there are security breaches here and there; of course Imo is not left out. We are doing our best. So far, the situation is relatively okay in Imo State than it was.
“Imo is okay now; people can come around and do their business. The normal life and activities have resumed in Imo State, security agencies are on top of their situation.
“It is not only in Imo State that we have had the challenges of insecurity; there are insecurity in other states. In fact, I can even tell you that the Imo case is better apart from one or two cases that involve very important personalities.
“There has never been a time that 20 persons died at a time, or schoolchildren were kidnapped, and all that. We have been doing our best to see that cases of security breaches are reduced to the barest minimum if not eliminated,” he said.
The governor called on all Nigerians to join hands in finding a lasting solution to the current security challenges in some parts of the country.
He said all citizens must contribute their quota towards making the country great.
“I want to use this opportunity to invite all leaders, religious, political and community leaders as well as traditional institutions, to join hands because the only country we have is Nigeria; we don’t have another country and if we are not united, we will achieve nothing.
“We must contribute our quota, however it is, to ensure that Nigeria remains strong, united and a place where we will go about our businesses and where equity and justice is guaranteed,” he said.
The governor also told journalists that a couple of his colleagues in the would cross over to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“Not just from the South East, many Governors in Nigeria will join the APC, because it is not only the ruling party, it is the party that is today in government and they have seen in good conscience speaking honestly.
“You have seen that part of the problem of this government is the deliberate attempt by some group of people to pull it down. Because nobody is telling me that this government is not performing, that salaries are not being paid or that the roads are not being constructed or the railway is not going or the various intervention funds to empower our youths are not being given out.
“Nobody has come in concrete terms to accuse this government of one failure or the other. All we hear is that herdsmen and farmers are fighting and for that reason, 200 people are kidnapped. People are shot down there, people are killed there. What do you want the government to do?
“We must be realistic. I believe in pragmatism. I believe in doing things right. Can anybody come and tell me one, two, three, four reasons why this APC should not win in the next election? Nobody I have said that I’ve not read either in any newspaper. All I hear is that because of insecurity this, insecurity that but you send people out in the night to go and cause trouble and use it in day to blame the government,” he said.