……..S/East Governors, Senators Call for Probe
By Babatunde Opalana
Tension has returned to Umuahia, the Abia state Capital, as a detachment of soldiers from the Nigerian Army has surrounded the Afaraukwu country home of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
Following this, governors and senators from the South-East states have reacted, calling for caution and a probe into the military incursion.
The soldiers, who reportedly arrived the community on Tuesday barely 48 hours after the clash between the Army and IPOB members on Sunday evening, left three people injured and returned with about 10 Armoured Carrier Vehicles and seven Hilux vans.
Some of the soldiers also invaded the Abia State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists on Aba Road, Umuahia, and destroyed laptops and other valuables.
According to journalists at the secretariat, the soldiers claimed they saw somebody taking photographs of them from the building
Irked by the security situation in their domain, Governors in the South-Eastern part of the country as well as Senators from the area were demanding a high power probe into the clash men of the Nigerian Army drafted on the order of the Federal Government and members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) members in Umuahia.
The Director of Media and Communications for the South-East Governors’ Forum, Michael Udah, in a statement issued on Tuesday, said the Governors’ Forum has set-up a 7- man committee to investigate the recent clash and to proffer lasting solutions to such problems and forestall future occurrences, adding that the committee was expected to submit its report during the forum’s meeting scheduled for Sept.15.
Refuting the allegation that the governors condemned the attacks, he said: “Reports in the social media that the governors condemned the alleged attack on IPOB members are false, but instead, they are working assiduously to bring lasting peace and stability to the zone. I did not tell any medium on the social and print media that the governors condemned the incident as they would soon meet to review the situation.”
He, however, said that the governors were consulting with relevant stakeholders in the zone including the military to ensure clarity of positions.
In the same vein, South East Senate Caucus on Tuesday in Abuja, decried the ongoing military show of force in the South Eastern states, particularly in the remote villages around Umuahia the Abia State capital.
The Chairman of the caucus, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, condemned the alleged military incursions into the country home of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, saying such action suggests wilful personalization of the operation and deliberate abuse of the people’s fundamental right.
He said the caucus is sad that the military chose a time when the caucus has engaged the IPOB leadership and even extracted a firm commitment from them that its agitation will be strictly nonviolent and in conformity with international best practices.
“We had hoped that our ongoing engagement with the group is given a chance, and here we are, with a hurried military action deep into a highly populated area with a high propensity for casualty, which occurrence would rather escalate the already tense situation.
“It is more worrisome that the Military’s operation ‘python dance 2’ restricted to the South East in a peace time, has no doubt fouled the environment and sent a strong signal that the region is under siege, which should not be so in a democracy.
“We, therefore, urge extreme caution and advise the Military to de-escalate the situation and choose the best operational modus that will not only guaranty the safety of Nigerians, but also enhance national unity.
“Nigeria is not at war, people are only exercising their constitutional and universally guaranteed rights. So far they are carrying on in a manner that has never given room to violence which could warrant a wholesale military expedition”, Abaribe said.
The caucus according to him sympathizes with the wounded and reiterate the call for dialogue as a panacea to the lingering agitation.