The 82 Division of the Nigerian Army has debunked report trending in the social media alleging that some soldiers of 144 Battalion on routine patrol in Aba, Abia State, recently, shot three persons and one of them died instantly. The Army also denied attaching soldiers to former Abia State governor, Dr Orji Uzor Kalu, or any politician for that matter in the South East.
The Army noted that although there was an incident involving 144 Battalion patrol team with some traders at Asa-Nnentu spare parts market in Ugwunagbo Local Government Area of Abia State, at no time was anybody shot, wounded or killed as peddled on the social media.
However, the Army said that they arrested and handed over six members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to the Abia State Police Command following the incident.
Explaining what transpired, spokesman of the division, Col. Musa Sagir, in a statement, yesterday, said that “at about 1200 hours on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, troops of the Battalion on Exercise Egwu Eke III were alerted on the massive presence of some youths allegedly disrupting commercial activities and pasting posters with the inscription that ‘There will be no elections in Abia State and entire Biafra land’, ‘Support Biafran Referendum’, Vote for Biafra, Vote for total freedom from slavery’, among others, which were unusually widely pasted on private shops around Alaoji general area.
“Consequently, as professionally responsive soldiers, the team moved to the area to ensure peace, security and that no person was to be harassed or molested by miscreants or violent secessionist agitators.
“Unfortunately, some of the misguided traders and hoodlums loitering around started chanting anti-soldiers commentaries with some of them boldly obstructing troops’ movements. This situation, necessarily, in the circumstance, caused two of the personnel to fire a warning shot to disperse the surging crowd.”
He added that the situation had been calm since that day while people went about their normal businesses unhindered.
Sagir also dismissed as false, an online newspaper report credited to Abia State Commissioner for Information, John Okiyi, which claimed that “dozens of soldiers were attached to a prominent politician in Abia State” which he uses to allegedly instigate violence in the state.
He said the false claims contained in the publication captioned “2019 Elections: Abia Commissioner blows hot, blasts ex-Gov Kalu for instigating violence”, were published on Friday, February 8, 2019.
He described the allegation as hollow, restating that “there is not a single soldier or group of soldiers attached to any political figure/politician in Abia State and in any other state within the Division area of responsibility.
“For emphasis, the Division under the command of Major General Abubakar Sadiq Maikobi and the Nigerian Army under the leadership of Lt. General Tukur Buratai has so far adequately, emphatically and consistently made it clear to the entire personnel of the Nigerian Army and the citizens of our great nation that army personnel are apolitical, neutral and totally insulated from any form of politics, political party leaning and or attachment to any politician before, during and after the 2019 general elections.”