Targeted Assassinations: Traditional Rulers In Imo State Should Resign En Masse, Says HURIWA

Disturbed by the persistent terrorist attacks targeting the lives and property of traditional rulers in Imo State and the clear inability and unwillingness of the Imo State government to find practicable solution to it, a suggestion is being made to all traditional rulers in Imo State to quit until such a time that governor Hope Uzodinma would put a framework in place to effectively stop the killings and punish the murderers.
HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) which made the observation has for the umpteenth time, urged governor Hope Uzodinma to make peace with the stakeholders and groups in the state including the indigenous people of Biafra (IPOB). HURIWA said the Imo State governor who is seen frequently in Abuja and is being rumoured to be running Imo State’s government machinery from Abuja should live in Owerri Imo State to be able to coordinate practical meetings with every known and identifiable groups and individuals playing a role in the insecurity tearing apart the Heartland of Igbo nation.
HURIWA affirmed that: “Although we are not convinced that the people responsible for the series of assassinations of traditional rulers are affiliated to either the Proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) OR THE Eastern Security Network because we suspect the involvement of members of the deep state from Abuja, but we think the Imo State governor must hold peace talks with identifiable groups to find workable panacea to the systematic degeneration of security and the evolution of impunity, lawlessness and collapse of law enforcement mechanisms in Imo State. No amount of sacrifices is not worth making to put an end to the cocktail of coordinated murders of traditional rulers in Imo State”.
HURIWA expressed disappointment that even with the presence of the Department of State Services in Imo State, the secret police have yet to come to terms with the characters executing the systematic killings of traditional rulers in Imo State.
HURIWA said if the Imo State governor who is alleged to be spending most of his times in Abuja refuses to organize far-reaching meetings to discuss, negotiate and reach a deal or deals with all the identifiable groups and stakeholders in the Imo State debacle including political actors, then Imo State traditional rulers should save their lives by resigning from their apparently non-rewarding positions. HURIWA wondered why traditional rulers should become prime targets when indeed and infact they are so financially oppressed and marginalised by the Imo State government to an extent that if one considers what a traditional ruler earns in Katsina State, the paltry amount of fees paid to selected first class traditional rulers in Imo State pales into insignificance. We appeal to every aggrieved group and persons to please stop the violence in Imo State and embrace constructive dialogue.
“The Primary duty of every government is the protection of lives and property of the citizens and since Imo State is degenerating to an arena and theatre of assassinations, no solution should be discountenanced. If on the other hand the Imo State governor continues to hibernate in the federal capital territory and is relying on military force to restore law and order in Imo State, then we are hereby ASKING IMO STATE TRADITIONAL RULERS TO IMMEDIATELY THROW IN THE TOWEL TO AVOID BECOMING UNNECESSARY COLLATERAL DAMAGE”
HURIWA in a media statement by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, said Imo State’s insecurity has reached such a dimension that a state of emergency be declared. It condemned the incessant killings of Imo citizens and traditional rulers and urged Imo State governor to stop his excessive reliance on military force which has always been misdirected and misapplied to carry out extra-judicial killings of Imo youths, but governor of Imo should also apply non-kinetic strategy to restore law and order in Imo State.
HURIWA recalled that the traditional ruler of Atta community, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, Edwin Azike, who was kidnapped last Thursday, was murdered by his assailants.
Recently the body of the late monarch was found at the market square yesterday morning, a development that was confirmed to journalists by Imo State’s Police Public Relations Officer, Michael Abattam.
He said the murder was being investigated and that those responsible would be found and dealt with according to the law of the land.
Traditional rulers in Imo State have described the spate of kidnap and murder among their ranks as worrisome and have pleaded for government’s protection.
The murder of HRH Azike is coming barely 24 hours after a traditional ruler in a community in Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area of the state, Damian Nwaigwe, was kidnapped, and has not been released as at press time yesterday.
Three traditional rulers were killed in October, this year, when gunmen invaded Nnenasa community in Njaba Local Government Area of the state. The monarchs were among others said to be holding a meeting when the gunmen struck.
The Rights group said the governor of Imo State must act fast or the Imo traditional rulers should resign enmasse.

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