Poised to ensure that the lives and properties of citizens of Imo are protected from attacks, Gov. Rochas Okorocha has armed Imo Civil Guards with pump action rifles.
National Daily gathered that at a time people are worried about proliferation of lethal weapons, a governor of a state would arm untrained group with such weapons without the approval of the federal government.
It was further learnt that apart from the Civil Guards, there also exist Imo Security Network, (ISN) and Imo Community Watch, (ICW)—all now equipped with rifles.
A source said that the groups are often seen at social events brandishing weapons, especially events were their commander, Mr. Donatus Ejifugha, is present.
Although the status of the personnel to carry arms is not clear even as law establishing the outfit does not legitimize carrying of arms, the general fear expressed by some residents is the proficiency of the guards in the use of such arms .
However, the Imo State Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO), Deputy Superintendent of Police, Andrew Enwerem, said “they have no power to bear arms.
“The Imo Security Network, Imo Community Watch and Imo Civil Guard, are security outfits established by Governor Rochas Okorocha. They are not authorized to carry firearms,” he added.
Police source, however, revealed that efforts are been made to mop up unauthorized firearms in the state, stating that they would resist every move by anybody or group of persons to sabotage peace process in the state.