The Abia State Government has urged the Nigerian Army to undertake its Operation Python Dance II with caution and urged the state residents to desist from confronting armed men in uniform while performing their duties.
In a statement signed by the Deputy Governor of the state, Ude Oko Chukwu, and sighted by one of our correspondents on Monday, he said the state government had the responsibility to ensure the safety of all persons resident in Abia State.
He said Abia had been a peaceful state and it was the desire of the government to ensure that it remained so.
The Deputy Governor advised all persons living in the state to go about their lawful business without fear of molestation.
Chukwu said, “Abia State is a peaceful state and we want it to remain so and that is why the state government condemns Sunday’s unfortunate incident. We also want to warn Abia State residents to desist from confronting security men who are on a lawful duty of protecting the people of the state. We also want to appeal to the army to conduct their security exercise with caution.”
Meanwhile, residents of Afaraukwu Umuahia, the home town of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, have asked the Federal Government to direct security agencies in the country to focus their operation on armed robbers and kidnappers and the leave peaceful community alone.
Speaking on the clash between the Army and IPOB members last Sunday, a resident of the community identified only as Mercy, said the community was still in apprehension after the clash that left about three people including one Mrs. Grace Nwokeukwun injured.
Mercy, who sell fruits in the area, said she was afraid of opening for business early in the morning, adding that she only came out for business at about 4 pm, when she noticed that peace had returned to the community.
She said, “Soldiers should stop to threaten the peace of this community. The Army and the Police have not been doing their job very well, all they do is to intimidate people. On the road if they stop a car they demand money and if the money is not given to them, the car will be parked, yet armed robbers are having a field day in the country. They should go after criminals and not people of a peaceful community like ours.”
A barber in the community, who gave his name only as Godwin, said he opened his salon at about 7am, “because the place has been calm.”
He said many shop owners did not open for business as a result of the incident on Sunday.
A member of IPOB identified as Chinatu, who spoke to one of our correspondents, said the area had been calm since Monday morning, adding that there was no presence of soldiers or police in the community again.
He said, “People have been going about their normal business and the home of our leader (Kanu) is secured. Nothing bad is happening around here. Our members came around to perform their normal duties today, nobody ran away.”
Meanwhile, the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, and a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, have decried the Sunday attack by military men on Kanu, and his supporters in Umuahia, Abia State.
Fayose lamented that the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government was becoming authoritarian and intolerable of dissenting voices.
According to a statement on Monday by the office of the Chief Press Secretary, the governor stated this in Ado-Ekiti while answering questions from newsmen.
Fayose stated, “The invasion is condemnable and the present government is becoming authoritarian. It is proving not to be a peaceful one. The government is also operating double standards. They went to court to revoke his bail and they can’t be patient enough for the court to decide on the matter.
“We need dialogue. People have to ask the Federal Government what the Igbo people have done to deserve all this. Even if they have done anything wrong, they should be forgiven. The matter we have on hand is beyond Kanu,” he stated.
Fani-Kayode in a statement on Monday described Kanu as the ‘Lion of the East,’ and added that guns could not kill Biafra.
The ex-minister said, “…They forgot that the application and unleashing of fire cannot put out fire: it only adds to the rage of the inferno and causes it to spread and develop into a massive and uncontrollable conflagration which will ultimately consume the entire nation.”
Fani-Kayode said it was wrong of the Federal Government to have deployed soldiers to fight Nigerians.
He said despite the several provocations, Kanu and his members had remained peaceful.