Acts of savagery’ — Imo panel submits report on Izombe mayhem

The panel of inquiry set up to investigate the chaos that rocked Izombe community in Oguta LGA of Imo state has submitted its report.

Hope Uzodimma, governor of Imo, received the report on Wednesday.

In October 2021, two soldiers and a resident were reportedly killed following a clash involving security operatives and youths suspected to be involved in oil bunkering in Izombe community.

However, after the clash, security operatives were said to have stormed the community — an action which reportedly resulted in the death of three more persons.

Presenting the report alongside other members of the committee, Fred Njemanze, chairman of the panel, said the committee received 350 petitions.

Njemanze, a retired justice of the Imo state high court, described the incident as an “man’s inhumanity to man and acts of savagery”, adding that the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) did not respond to invitations to appear before the panel.

He, however, said the panel received evidence from traditional rulers, community leaders, police, the Department of State Services (DSS), and the Nigerian Correctional Service (NCoS).

“We could have received more than that, but because of some sort of fears which so many were entertaining, including lawyers appearing for them. Some of them had to withdraw at certain stages out of fear,” NAN quoted him as saying.

“Unfortunately, the army refused to appear before the judicial panel despite all we did to bring them. The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) also did not appear.

“But in all, we have four volumes of our reports. The first report is the main report where we made our findings and recommendations. Volumes two, three and four are the proceedings, exhibits and other materials.”

In his remarks, Uzodimma commended the panel for its efforts, adding that the state would work on the recommendations.

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