Army arrests IPOB Members over Biafra Referendum
The attention of the 82 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to an online news publication gathering attention in social media published by an online news platform – Starcoded.com.ng on 7th February 2019 alleging that some soldiers of 144 Battalion on routine patrol in Aba general area of Abia State have shot 3 persons and one of them has died instantly.
The Division wishes to state that although there was an incidence 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 at, wounded or killed as lopsidedly and therefore wrongly reported by the medium. However, six members of proscribed independent People of Biafra (IPOB) were arrested and handed over to the Nigerian Police Abia State Command.
For record purpose this was what happened; – at about 1200 hours on Wednesday the 6th of February, 2019, troops of the Battalion on exercise EGWU EKE 111 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 Aloaji general area.
Consequently, as a professionally responsive soldiers, the team moved to the area to ensure peace, security and 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.
Since that day the situation has been calm and the outlawed IPOB posters have been removed. People are going about their normal businesses unhindered.
The Division hereby sounds strong warning for any individual or group to desist from confronting troops on legitimate duty. Nigerian Army personnel will not tolerate violent secessionist agitation, are apolitical, neutral, professional and responsive in the discharge of our constitutional roles in line with the vision and policy directive of the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai.
Members of the public are please requested to disregard the wrongful publication as there has not been genuine report of any major fracas, rights abuses, shooting, wounding or killing of anybody by soldiers since the commencement of exercise EGWU EKE 111.
The Division further appreciates and commends the level of cooperation and support received from the public which assisted in the successes recorded so far and request for more.
Deputy Director Public Relations 82 Division
No Soldiers Attached to Politicians in Sourh-East- Army
Contrary to a publication by an online media outlet – www.dailypost.ng claiming that “dozens of soldiers are attached to a prominent politician in Abia State” – “which he uses to allegedly instigate violence in the state”. This story among other false claims are contained in its news report entitled – “2019 Elections: Abia Commissioner Blows Hot, Blasts Ex Gov Kalu for Instigating Violence” published on Friday the 8th of February, 2019.
Based on this hollow allegation, the 14 Brigade and indeed the 82 Division Nigerian Army(NA) hereby restate 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 NA under the leadership of Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has so far adequately, emphatically and consistently made it clear to the entire personnel of the NA and the citizens of our great nation that army personnel are and will remain – 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.
The NA Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement are unambiguous and clear enough and does not include attaching soldier to any politician. Therefore, at no time has any personnel of the NA been attached to a prominent politician in Abia State or any other state in the South East zone. Any claim to the contrary requires photo and/or video evidence to prove this rhetorical assertion.
Politicians and political leaders are please reminded to remove NA soldiers from their political permutations as the system/leadership will no longer tolerate any form of political affinity or inquisitiveness by military personnel under any guise.
Deputy Director Public Relations 82 Division