Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State, yesterday, asked police officers in the state to use their arms to defend themselves against criminals.

Uzodimma gave the charge when the immediate past Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, visited the state to assess the damage caused by the attacks on the federal prison and state police command headquarters.

Uzodimma, who described the attack on government institutions in the state, including the Prisons and Police command headquarters as an attack on the integrity of the government, said: “If you can’t attack them, you can at least use your rifles to defend yourselves. Any attack on the police formation is an insult to us as a government. We must take charge, take control and ensure discipline.

“We must not condone attacks by criminals on government. Police must not be compromised so that the integrity of government will remain intact. This unfortunate tragedy can only be condemned by every reasonable mind. The intention was to put fear into our people and make them vulnerable.”

The governor also said he had commissioned a detailed investigation into the attack in a bid to finding out the perpetrators and masterminds of the ugly incident.

“Luckily for us, no life was lost. I can assure you that my government working with security agencies, shall rise to the occasion to get to the end of the matter,” the governor said.

Reacting to the mayhem, the immediate past Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mohammed Adamu, vowed to clamp down on members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, who he said carried out the attack on Imo Police command headquarters.

Speaking after inspecting the damage caused by the attack on Owerri Prisons and Police command headquarters, former IGP Adamu directed police officers to use maximum force against IPOB which, according to him, had been outlawed as a terrorist organisation.

The former IGP, who noted that there was no hiding place for IPOB members, said: “Those that were released by the attackers, I have been told, some of them belong to the proscribed IPOB group.

“We are sending this message to them that there will be no hiding place. They will be re-arrested and many more of the criminals within that group will be arrested.

“Whether in their homes and forests, we are determined to fish them out. I have instructed my men to use maximum force with the guns available to us. We have the authority to defend the country, which they don’t have. We will not allow these criminals to succeed.”

Adamu also asked Imo residents and leaders to join hands in fishing out criminals operating in the state.

Monday’s attacks were the latest in the growing security incidents targeting security facilities in the South-East since IPOB launched its Eastern Security Network, ESN.

While the group has often been mentioned as suspects in the attacks, it has maintained its members are peaceful.

Emma Powerful, IPOB spokesman, had said that his group had no hand in Monday’s attacks in Imo but the police disagreed with the claim.

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