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•Abia govt appeals for calm in Aba, assures residents of safety
From Desmond Mgboh, Kano and David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, has urged the Federal Government to investigate the Tuesday clashes between soldiers and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in parts of Rivers and Abia states.
The governor made the request when he received members of the Coalition of Northern Groups, who visited him in his office, yesterday.
Ganduje described the incident as unfortunate and insisted that those behind attacks on Muslims and mosques must be brought to book.
He maintained that if the culprits were left unpunished, similar incidents would continue to happen, at the expense of peace and stability in the country.
“I believe two wrongs cannot not make right,” said the governor, who added that “what is needed at this moment is peaceful co-existence that would lead to rapid development of the country.”
He, however, expressed satisfaction that the situation has been brought under control by the military and hailed efforts of the Coalition to douse the tension over what happened in Aba and in Rivers State.
Meanwhile, his colleague in Abia, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has urged the Hausa/Fulani community in the state to be calm as the situation is now under control.
The governor, represented by his deputy, Mr Ude Okechukwu, made the call at Aba Mosque, where some of the state’s Muslim community gathered to meet him.
The governor expressed regret over the disturbances in Aba and stressed that efforts have been made to prevent a recurrence.
He added that security agencies in the state would ensure restoration of peace in Abia, and that he had moved round Aba, to confirm normalcy in the city.
Ikpeazu attributed the incident to influx of some “non-resident miscreants, who came into Aba, to cause problems for the residents.”
On Tuesday, the governor declared a three-day curfew in Aba, the commercial nerve centre of Abia, after clashes between soldiers and some IPOB members.
In a related development, military personnel in Operation Python Dance II,” scheduled to take effect from tomorrow, in the South East states, have been deployed to the city.
Regardless, the South East Elders Forum has expressed worry over the face-off between IPOB and the military thereby turning the zone to a war theatre.
Convener of the forum, Dr. Dozie Ikedife, in Nnewi, Anambra State, said the elders were talking about the one that happened in Umuahia last Sunday only to receive news about confrontation between soldiers and IPOB in Rivers and Abia states, respectively.
Dr. Ikedife said it was worrisome that the situation might escalate to an uncontrollable situation which could lead to loss of many lives and properties with great tension created in the South East zone.
He said “the incident should not be turned to be like an army of occupation in any shape or form” and noted that “it should not appear like expeditions or punitive army turned against citizens they were paid to protect.”
He also said that in the democratic dispensation in Nigeria, the army has full command at the barracks and war fronts, “but the South East is not a war zone.”
Also, OurMumuDonDo Movement, has condemned Tuesday’s clashes.
In a statement by Convener of OurMumuDonDo Movement Charles Oputa (popularly known as Charly Boy), Convener, Concerned Nigerians, Deji Adeyanju and Publicity Secretary of our OurMumuDonDo Movement, Adebayo Raphael, the groups said: “In as much as we are aware that the Federal Government is concerned about curbing divisive messages and inordinate agitations within the country, we believe it should be more concerned about safeguarding the lives and properties of all Nigerians in any part of the country.
“It is also important to note that though recanted, the October 1, 2017 ultimatum, issued by some misguided northern youths, to the Igbo in the North remains weighty in the minds of many, and the atmosphere is hyper-sensitive to any mishap that could foment such interethnic melee.
“We urge the federal government; therefore, that, rather than steaming up the flames of enmity and discord within the country by using force on harmless citizens, it should be more committed to dousing tensions and promoting peace and unity.
“Finally, we appeal to the federal government to be more circumspect and solution-focused in handling sensitive matters as secessionist agitations within the country.”