The Police in Imo State have arrested 15 people who allegedly attacked the convoy of Governor Hope Uzodimma on Monday.
He was on his way to the 34 Attilary Brigade, Obinze, to inaugurate an officers mess built by the state government when the incident occurred.
The hoodlums, armed with guns and machetes, claimed to be staff members of the Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (ISOPADEC) protesting non-payment of salaries.
The government said its position that most of the protests in the state were sponsored by the opposition had been vindicated.
Commissioner of Police Isaac Akinmoyede said the suspects claimed they were ISOPADEC employees who were “owed three months’ salary”.
He said they were arrested with one locally-made pistol, two machetes, a mask, a chain and a padlock. “They attacked the vehicles in the convoy with a locally made pistol and machetes.”
He said the incident, which occurred around Concord area of New Owerri, did not claim any life. “But in the process, windscreens of some of the vehicles in the convoy were smashed and the vehicles damaged,” he said.
The Police chief said the suspects have been handed over to state Criminal Investigation Department for further investigation.
Commissioner of Information and Strategy Declan Emelumba said the fact that people claiming to be the staff of ISOPADEC could arm themselves with guns and matchets validated the state’s position that most of the protests were politically-motivated.
The commissioner said the opposition, rattled by the public ovation that greeted the governor’s successful commissioning of new roads in Owerri last Friday, must have hired the thugs.
“The opposition is smarting from the irredeemable shame the government’s successes is rubbing on their face.
“They quickly thought of another protest to take the shine out off the increasingly unbeatable trajectory of Governor Uzodimma’s success stories. But, luck ran out of luck this time,” Emelumba said.
He urged the police to unravel the real motive behind the action of the hoodlums and their sponsors.