Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Anthony Obinna has called on Imo State Governor, Senator Uzodimma to convoke what he termed a “ceasefire meeting of stakeholders” to quell the incessant killings in the state.2
Archbishop Obinna made the call in a statement entitled; Stop The Killings– Convoke A Ceasefire Meeting– Save Imo State !!!.”
He regretted that Imolites are being killed in the light of day and in the night time by state and non-state actors.
According to the Catholic prelate, the people are living in fear of both known and unknown gunmen who are making them to run for their dear lives daily.
He disclosed that 106 youths are at present languishing in the Federal Correctional Centre Owerri, accused and charged jointly of planning to commit treasonable felony.
The prelate, who said he saw the youths on May 26, when he visited the facility, further disclosed that he saw 35 corpses of youths who were killed by runaway killers, military, police and unknown gunmen at the morgue of Federal Medical Centre, Owerri on June 3, when he visited the health facility.
He charged the governor to step up and stop the killings even as he urged the users and abusers of guns and other deadly weapons to renounce violence and denounce the show of pride in killing fellow human beings.
Archbishop Obinna said;
“Last year exactly about this time I charged Governor Hope Uzodimma and other Igbo leaders to protect our people and defend our lands. That charge was provoked by threats and acts of invasion on our farmlands by Fulani herdsmen.
“Now our very lives are at stake as killings of Imo people are taking place in broad daylight and at nights by both officially and unofficially armed men. Imo people are on the run from known and unknown gunmen.
“There is scare in the air and anxiety on the ground. Imo people are hiding, living in fear. Reports of indiscriminate arrests for no clear reason and killings as a show of power or in alleged retaliation continue to spread.
“On Wednesday the 26th May 2021 I personally went to the Federal Correctional Centre, Owerri, to see the 106 young men arrested from various locations, accused and charged to court jointly for planning to commit “a treasonable felony”. They are yet to be released.
“On Thursday the 3rd June 2021, I visited the Owerri Federal Medical Centre, mortuary. As I painfully surveyed the 35 corpses stark naked on the bare floor, stealthily dumped there within the last few days, victims of runaway killers, military, police and unknown gunmen, with no identification on them, I thought of many others who have been kidnapped, taken to unknown locations, killed and even butchered, as we continue to hear. Imo is bleeding!
“On behalf of the already killed and even more, on behalf of the living now threatened daily with brutal death, I charge Governor Hope Uzodimma as the Chief Security Officer of Imo people to step up and stop the killings by whoever is responsible for them. I equally charge all users and abusers of guns and deadly weapons to stop the killings, to renounce violence and to denounce any show of pride in killing fellow human beings.
The Bishop urged the governor to convoke a ceasefire meeting of all Imo stakeholders, no matter their disposition or leaning, for a concerted approach to quench the bloody fire already ravaging Imo people and destroying Imo State.