Ikpeazu announces gradual withdrawal of soldiers from Abia
By Chukwudi Nweje and Sunday Ani
Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, has announced gradual withdrawal of soldiers from the streets of Aba.
The governor said the withdrawl will commence today.
Ikpeazu also said he will meet President Muhammadu Buhari, to discuss possible ways of relaxing Operation Python Dance 11 in the state.
He, however, said the pre-existing military checkpoints at various location in the state will remain in place.
Ikpeazu, in a message to the people of Abia state said the security situation in the state in the past few days has become of great concern to both the government and the citizenry.
“Dear brothers and sisters, the security situation in the state in the past few days, which led to the deployment of soldiers into our state ahead of the Operation Python dance 11, has become of great concern to both the government and the citizenry.
“After several interventions, I want to inform you that by tomorrow (today) morning, there will be withdrawal of solders from the streets at Aba and Umuahia, apart from the pre-existing military checkpoints at various location in the state.
“With the expected exit of soldiers from the streets, we must warn that we will not tolerate agitators and protesters taking over the streets for any reason at all…
“Our attention has been drawn to ugly incidences of attacks on police stations and military posts at Aba and Umuahia and we, hereby, warn that we will no longer tolerate that, and all other acts that are capable of causing insecurity in the state…
“To mischief makers, who want to use Abia as their base, let me announce to you that, henceforth, Abia will be too hot for you to carry out your wicked acts as the government will work with security agents to ensure the protection of lives and properties in the state without fear or favour. There will be no hiding place for you…”
Ikpeazu warned members and sympathisers of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to desist from spreading rumours that could throw Abia state into disorder and noted that “it is in the interest of all our citizens and residents for full and total peace and security to return to our state immediately.”
Meanwhile, governorship candidate of Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Akunwata Ejoh Ojiba and a chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Chief Charles Udeogaranya, also called on the Federal Government to withdraw Operation Egwu Eke II from the South East.
In a statement in Awka, Anambra state, Ojiba urged the Federal Government to dialogue with IPOB, rather than resort to aggression and military action, while Udeogaranya, who spoke in Lagos said it was not fair that soldiers, paid with public funds, would be unleashed against defenceless civilian population.