President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday visited Imo state, days after the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) declared a sit-at-home over his scheduled visit.
Buhari, who arrived at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport, Owerri at exactly 10:46 a.m, proceeded to inaugurate the reconstructed 35-km Orlu-Owerri dual carriageway and 52-km Owerri-Okigwe dual carriageway.
The pro-Biafra, group had said the sit-at-home was necessary following the appearance of its leader in Court in continuation of his ongoing case with the Federal government of Nigeria.
A statement by IPoB’s Media and Publicity Secretary, Emma Powerful, entitled, “IPoB declares Tuesday 13th September 2022 sit-at-home” reads “The global family and movement of the Indigenous People of Biafra IPoB, under the command and leadership of our indefatigable liberator Mazi Nnamdi Okwuchukwu Kanu, wish to announce to the general public especially Biafrans that Tuesday 13th of September has been declared a day of civil action in the form of sit-at-home in Biafra Land.”
“The Tuesday 13th September, 2022 civil action is very important for two reasons:
First, Our leader’s Appeal Court hearing that was supposed to be on October 11th, has been brought forward to 13th September, 2022.
“As usual we call on Biafrans and lovers of freedom to demonstrate our solidarity with our leader who is bearing our yoke in detention for over a year now. IPoB never issued a new directives to Biafrans, but is simply implementing an existing order to lock down Biafra land any day the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, will appear in Court at Abuja.
“It was based on such agreement with our leader that informed the suspension of the initial Mondays sit-at-home declared by IPoB leadership in August of 2021. It is imperative that our people understand this and go about their daily work and businesses on Monday and get prepared for Tuesday the 13th of September 2022 because Biafraland will be completely locked down.
“Secondly, it has come to the knowledge of the leadership of the Indigenous People of Biafra that Governor Hope Uzodimma led government of Imo State has decided to insult the memories of our gallant men and women and of the youths his government in collaboration with the Nigerian terrorists in Army, Police and DSS uniform have been eliminating, by inviting President Mhammadu Buhari to Oweeri the Imo State capital Tuesday the 13th of September 2022, the very same day the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra Mazi Nnamdi Kanu will be appearing in Court. What an effrontery and insult upon the land of Biafra and the people of Biafra.
“There shall be a ,total lock down of the whole of Biafraland on Tuesday the 13th of September 2022. Buhari cannot be coming to Imo State while he continues to detain our leader Mazi Nnamdi in the DSS custody.
“Mazi Nnamdi Kanu must be released unconditionally because he committed no crime known to law. We must warn women group, the clergy men and women, Traditional rulers, President Geberal and others who may be contemplating going to Owerri on Tuesday the 13th of September to join in this dance of shame being planned by the Imo State government.”
Meanwhile, President Buhari during his Tuesday visit inaugurated three “signature projects” of Governor Hope Uzodimma, reassuring that the Federal Government would sustain its support for more developmental projects in Imo.
The President also inaugurated the renovated the state’s House of Assembly Complex.
Speaking at the Government House Banquet Hall, Owerri on Tuesday, Buhari expressed delight that in less than three years of Uzodimma’s administration, he had visited the state twice to commission projects.
Buhari said: “Our administration recognises the importance of critical infrastructure in economic development and we are determined to drive the economic development of Nigeria through the provision of vital infrastructure across the length and breadth of the country.
“This can be seen in our commitment to certain projects such as deep sea port, new airport terminals and buildings, various railway projects, a network of gas and power infrastructure, roads and bridges including the second Niger Bridge, telecommunication infrastructure, to mention but a few.
“I am happy to see that the All Progressives Congress administration of Uzodimma is doing similar improvements in Imo.
“I commend the governor for being able to do so with limited resources at the disposal of the state which proves that when leaders are dedicated and focused, much can be achieved for the people,” he added.
The President who described Uzodimma’s completed and ongoing projects in the state as “infrastructural revolution,” said the Federal Government’s support to Imo was equally available to other states.
He decried the loss in the production of crude oil following activities of militants, noting however, that the Federal Government had improved on infrastructures with lean resources at its disposal.
In his speech, Uzodimma said the event served as another evidence to the unassailable resolve of his administration to serve the people with dedication and a sense of purpose.
He said Orlu – Owerri Federal road had been a nightmare for motorists for over a decade and was complicated by gully erosion for over 40 years.
He said the road which cuts across seven Local Government Areas of the state, was economically and geographically strategic, especially for local farmers, traders and markets along the road.
“The second project, which is the 52-km Owerri – Okigwe road, facilitates our access to parts of Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi, also experienced the same fate of abandonment.
“This was also partly because of seemingly intractable gully erosion at Akabo and many other failed portions of the road.
“To the glory of God, we found the courage, dedication and means, and the requisite technology to fix these roads and the erosion menace,” he said.
The governor said he undertook the reconstruction of the state house of assembly complex, which was abandoned for over 10 years due to dilapidation of the infrastructure.
“I had to do it because I am aware that the legislature is the bastion of democracy as well as the symbol of the people’s power,” he said.
Uzodimma said his administration had done more than 105 roads across the 27 local government areas of the state since inception.
He said the Owerri – Mbaise- Obowo – Umuahia road and Orlu-Mgbee-Akokwa-Uga road recently inaugurated by his administration, would boost interstate trade and tourism when completed.
“Under our prosperity agenda encapsulated in Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Recovery, we intend to connect all communities in the state with motorable roads before the end of our first term.
“Our goal is to leave Imo state far better than we met it. In the pursuit of this goal, we have remained steadfast, tenacious and resilient,” he added.
He commended the President for the completion of the second River Niger Bridge, upgrading of Enugu Airport to an international airport and the reconstruction of the Aba – Umuahia – Enugu – Onitsha dual carriageway.
Earlier, the President-General of Ohaneze Ndigbo Worldwide, Prof. George Obiozor said the greatest challenges facing the South-East political zone were the issues of security and infrastructure.
Obiozor, who commended the President for his support toward the development and growth of the zone, also applauded Uzodimma’s commitment to the development and transformation of the state.
The president-general assured Buhari that the people of the zone were committed to the Nigeria project.
“We desire a country that provides us the platform and opportunities to contribute our utmost best to the growth of our fatherland.
“We seek justice, equity and fairness,” Obiozor stressed.