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How Imo Deputy Governor, Irona Saved Electricity Vandal From Lynching

By Kingsley Ufon
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Facts have emerged on how the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona saved an alleged electricity installations vandal in Oguta area of Imo State from lynching by an angry mob.

The suspect, whose name was simply given as Chidi, also known as ‘Chidi chassis’, a native of the area was identified by indigenes of the community as being responsible for the disappearance of electrical installations in the area.

According to a statement by the Communications Adviser to the Deputy Governor, Dr. Walter Duru, it took the timely intervention of the Deputy Governor Engr. Gerald Irona, also a native of the area and the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Oguta Divisional Police, Mr. Amadi to rescue the suspect from the angry residents of the area.

The statement reads in part:
“In line with the vision of the present administration in Imo State, led by Chief Emeka Ihedioha to ensure that electricity is restored in rural communities of Imo State, the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona opened discussions with the management of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company - EEDC.”

“One of the concerns raised by the EEDC management in all their meetings with the Deputy Governor was the need to protect power installations in the state, seeking partnership with community leaders and law enforcement agencies.”

“In trying to address the challenge of vandalism and theft of electrical installations, particularly, in “Oguta, Ohaji/Egbema and Oru West Local Government Areas of the state, the Deputy Governor invited some critical stakeholders to a meeting in Oguta Civic Center, Oguta on the 13thof August, 2019, where the issue was discussed.”

“Just like earlier reports, a particular name, alleged to be notorious for theft of power installations in the area re-echoed during the meeting.”

“In the course of the meeting, no fewer than seven persons identified a particular name, “Chidi”, popularly known as “Chidi Chassis”, accusing him of being responsible for the disappearance of electrical installations in Oguta community. The witness of the indigenes compelled the meeting to invite Mr. Chidi for questioning by the community.”

“Upon arrival, all the individuals that accused him stepped out to testify of how he was caught at several instances committing the offence. He was then asked to defend himself against the allegations leveled against him, but, instead of defending himself, he threatened to kill all those that exposed him, using spiritual means. The threat was made in the open, before the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona, Divisional Police Officer in charge of Oguta Police Division, Traditional Ruler of Oguta community, Priests of different church denominations in the area, community leaders, youth leaders, security operatives and other stakeholders.”

“It took the swift intervention of the Deputy Governor, Engr. Gerald Irona, Divisional Police Officer for Oguta LGA, Mr. Amadi and other community leaders to save Mr. Chidi chassis from being lynched by the youth of the community, who nearly visited him with jungle justice.”

“Mr. Chidi is presently cooling off in Oguta Divisional Police Station, where he is assisting the Police with investigation into the vandalism and stealing of electrical installations in the area.”

“It is therefore uncharitable to accuse the people’s Deputy Governor, Engr. Gerald Irona of ordering his beating or detention, instead of commending him for not allowing the agitated Oguta people, who wanted to show their anger on Mr. Chidi for allegedly contributing to their being in darkness for over eight years.”

Continuing, Duru faulted earlier reports linking the incident to politics and political appointments, describing it as unfortunate.

Read the full statement below
GOVERNMENT OF IMO STATE
OFFICE OF THE DEPUTY GOVERNOR
PRESS STATEMENT
RE: IMO DEPUTY GOVERNOR ALLEGEDLY BEATS UP, ORDERS ARREST OF HIS KINSMAN; YET ANOTHER PHANTOM REPORT

Our attention has been drawn to a false publication, authored by one Aliu Mambara, alleging that the Deputy Governor of Imo State, His Excellency Engr. Alphonsus Gerald Irona ordered the beating of one Mr. Chidi in Oguta Local Government Area of the state.

The writer also alleged that Mr. Chidi may have fallen out with the Deputy Governor when he allegedly raised concerns over the latter's alleged abandonment of his youthful supporters, especially, in the LGA and the entire oil producing region, among other baseless allegations.

Ordinarily, one would not have bothered responding to the mindless falsehood, but to put the records straight, we respond thus:

In line with the vision of the present administration in Imo State, led by Chief Emeka Ihedioha to ensure that electricity is restored in rural communities of Imo State, the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona opened discussions with the management of the Enugu Electricity Distribution Company - EEDC.

One of the concerns raised by the EEDC management in all their meetings with the Deputy Governor was the need to protect power installations in the state, seeking partnership with community leaders and law enforcement agencies.

In trying to address the challenge of vandalism and theft of electrical installations, particularly, in Oguta, Ohaji/Egbema and Oru West Local Government Areas of the state, the Deputy Governor invited some critical stakeholders to a meeting in Oguta Civic Center, Oguta on the 13thof August, 2019, where the issue was discussed.

Just like earlier reports, a particular name, alleged to be notorious for theft of power installations in the area re-echoed during the meeting.

In the course of the meeting, no fewer than seven persons identified a particular name, “Chidi”, popularly known as “Chidi Chassis”, accusing him of being responsible for the disappearance of electrical installations in Oguta community. The witness of the indigenes compelled the meeting to invite Mr. Chidi for questioning by the community.

Upon arrival, all the individuals that accused him stepped out to testify of how he was caught at several instances committing the offence. He was then asked to defend himself against the allegations leveled against him, but, instead of defending himself, he threatened to kill all those that exposed him, using spiritual means. The threat was made in the open, before the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona, Divisional Police Officer in charge of Oguta Police Division, Traditional Ruler of Oguta community, Priests of different church denominations in the area, community leaders, youth leaders, security operatives and other stakeholders.

It took the swift intervention of the Deputy Governor, Engr. Gerald Irona, Divisional Police Officer for Oguta LGA, Mr. Amadi and other community leaders to save Mr. Chidi chassis from being lynched by the youth of the community, who nearly visited him with jungle justice.

Mr. Chidi is presently cooling off in Oguta Divisional Police Station, where he is assisting the Police with investigation into the vandalism and stealing of electrical installations in the area.

It is therefore uncharitable to accuse the people’s Deputy Governor, Engr. Gerald Irona of ordering his beating or detention, instead of commending him for not allowing the agitated Oguta people, who wanted to show their anger on Mr. Chidi for allegedly contributing to their being in darkness for over eight years.

Linking last Tuesday’s incident to politics and political appointments is, to say the least, a show of pettiness.

No amount of falsehood will deter the Deputy Governor, Engr. Gerald Irona from continuing his great works of supporting the people’s Governor, Chief Emeka Ihedioha in providing public utilities to the good people of Imo State. Imo must be rebuilt!

Walter Duru, Ph.D
Adviser, Communications to the Deputy Governor
August 15, 2019