… Jude Johnson
The Nigerian Army has denied reports that its men molested and arrested some of the female members on the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) at a meeting in Abiriba town, South East of the country.
The Deputy Director of Army Public Relations (DDAPR) 82 Division Nigerian Army, Col. Sagir Musa, in a statement on Saturday, described it as a comical allegation by IPOB of “Soldiers Molested and Arrested IPOB Women” at a meeting at Abiriba, Abia State.
Musa said that the “allegation, funny as it is, is contained in a statement issued in Awka, Anambra State by IPOB publicity secretary and published by many media platforms”.
He stated: “Let me make it clear that the drama and the allegation that follow are deliberately staged by IPOB. The allegation, just like others before it, – is false, sheer IPOB’s propaganda to discredit the Nigerian Army, which at the moment, they will not succeed. Hence, I was able to confirm from the Officer in Charge of patrol of Abiriba and its environs, Major Danjuma Ali and the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Abiriba, Superintendent Titus Ugwuoke who briefed me – there was no truth in IPOB’s accusation. Details of what transpired are/were;
“That on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at about 1705 hours, soldiers of 14 Brigade Ohafia on routine patrol in Abiriba general area, received a distressed call alerted them of massive presence of IPOB women wing in Abiriba township stadium. Most of them (the women) were carrying Biafran flags, banners and other insignia. Majority were dressed in Biafran T – Shirts.”
The DDAPR noted that instant intelligence revealed that majority of the women came from Aba, Awka, Onitsha, Owerri and Port Harcourt axis as reflected on the various banners exhibited in the stadium.
“By Friday May 19, 2017, at about 0930 hours, women in large number surged towards the stadium. At that point, the patrol team moved close to the arena, with intent to monitor them further. On sighting the team, the women run out, removed part of their dresses and converged in an alternate venue where the Divisional Police Officer, Abiriba and His Majesty Eze Ogbu of Abiriba addressed the gathering. After the Eze’s address, they peacefully dispersed to their various destinations,” he added.
Musa said that Eze Ogbu has since briefed the Local Government Chairman and members of the Local Government Security Council on the matter, and there was nothing to suggest the women were rough handled or arrested.
On the basis of the declared details, he said, it is reasonable to portend, there was no contact between army personnel and the hilarious IPOB women in Abiriba or in any part of the south eastern Nigeria.
“So, it is the position of 82 Division Nigerian Army that no woman was harassed, molested or arrested as comically alleged. It is pertinent to state that the leadership of the Division is doing much to train troops further on civilian protection/respect for human rights in and out of conflict situations,” he declared.