The Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodimma, has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on nine Local Governments across the state after one person was reported to have been killed during clashes between members of the Eastern Security Network set up by the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) clashed with a combined team of police and soldiers in Orlu.
Uzodimma added that the curfew which begins 6 pm and ends 6am was taken as a strategy to restore peace within the state, just as he cautioned residents against violating the restriction on movement within the hours, saying, anyone caught violating the curfew will be treated as a suspect.
The nine affected local governments affected by the new development were Orlu, Orsu, Oru East, Oru West, Ideato North, Ideao South, Njaba, Isu, Nwangele, and Nkwerre.
As gathered, the crisis that resulted in clashes was said to have been brewing since a few days ago after IPOB volunteers and police engaged each other in a battle of supremacy which further resulted in deaths within the state.
Through a statement released on Monday, the governor, who expressed displeasure over the crisis that had claimed lives and destruction of property worth several millions of naira, said that such actions would not be accepted under his administration, assuring Nigerians that everyone behind the actions would surely be prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to others.
Condemning the actions, Uzodimma disclosed that security agencies have been directed to embark on a manhunt for everyone behind the carnage and immediately bring them to book, noting that they would pay for their cruelty against innocent people.
He said: “As an interim measure to immediately restore the peace in Orlu zone, a dusk to dawn curfew (6pm to 6am) is hereby imposed in the following Local Government Areas of Orlu zone; namely: Orlu, Orsu, Oru East, Oru West, Ideato North, Ideao South, Njaba, Isu, Nwangele and Nkwerre.
“All law-abiding citizens are advised to comply strictly with the curfew as announced. Anyone caught violating the curfew will be treated as a suspect.
“The government wants to assure all Imo people that the situation in Orlu area is under control. Security operatives have been deployed on a 24-hour patrol of the zone. Equally, every security measure necessary has been put in place to ensure that law-abiding citizens can go about their businesses in the affected areas without any fear of molestation.
“The government sincerely condoles with the families of the bereaved and all the victims of the unfortunate incident. I assure them that those who committed the heinous crime against them and their loved ones will never go unpunished”, he said.
Before the government imposed a curfew, it was learnt that security agencies including soldiers drawn from the 34 Artillery Brigade in Obinze had stormed the axis as part of measure to inflict pains on the IPOB sponsored volunteers.
Residents that witnessed the shootout between both parties claimed that some of the deceased were hit by stray bullets during the face-off that lasted for hours, crippling commercial activities within the axis.
The Guild gathered that gunshots enveloped the air in Orlu and neighbouring communities including Okporo, Akata and Umutanze, forcing residents to scamper for safety.
In a video seen, one person was sighted lying in the pool of his own blood after been hit by a stray bullet while trying to escape from the scene.