Izombe and Agwa, two oil-producing communities and agricultural belt in Oguta Local Government Area of Imo State, are presently degenerating into theatres of war, and gradually being reduced to ghost towns as residents have virtually deserted their ancestral homes following reported continued clashes between security operatives and gunmen. These reported clashes which have been going on since 2021, have led to loss of several lives and property especially, houses.
The once economically-vibrant and booming town of Izombe is currently a shadow of its old self at best.
Traditional rulers are among the worse-hit in the on-going carnage in Izombe, Agwa and other communities in Oguta LGA of Imo State. Some of them have been killed while others have reportedly fled their domains.
The situation is serious, fatal, and terrifying, yet not in any way appear to be abating.
The killings appear to have assumed a worrisome dimension in recent time, with the reported alleged house-to-house raiding of indigenes and residents’ homes, burning of houses, shops markets, amid indiscriminate shooting of perceived innocent lives.
Since last week, reports pointing to the alleged shooting of youths, including an unconfirmed trending story of two blood brothers believed to have been shot when their family house was said to have been raided by alleged uniform men, some guess, could be of the Ebubeagu vigilante outfit.
Indeed male youths of those communities are said to be the alleged targets of reported raiding of homes in Ixombe and some neighbouring communities of Oguta LGA.
What the police authorities and other security agencies are doing to halt the unfolding anarchy in Izombe? Where are the leaders of the area, and what are are they saying about this dangerous development?
We call on the Inspector General of Police, IGP, and other service chiefs in the nation’s security architecture to beam their searchlight on Izombe, Agwa and other affected communities in Oguta LGA of Imo State.
The IGP must intervene and set up independent investigation into the butchery, mayhem or wasting of people’s lives going on at Izombe, Agwa, and adjoining communities in Oguta LGA of Imo State presently.
We appeal to the youths of the area to embrace peace, just as we strongly suggest that Federal Government of Nigeria should liaise with Imo State Government with a view to declaring an audacious amnesty programme for the agitating youths. The seeming ‘hit- me, I-hit-you’ approach in tackling the situation, appear to be becoming counter-productive.
More importantly, security operatives need to apply the rules of engagement in the discharge of their onerous duties. All over the world, the rights of civilians are respected during conflicts including wars. Any deliberate killing, maiming, torture of civilians or burning of their houses or property, obviously negates the rules of engagement and breaches international laws.