Nigerian Army says politicians were behind Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB; Gov Wike Warns Kanu, IPOB To Steer Clear Of Rivers State; President Buhari meets Ugandan President Museveni in Aso Rock; Police reveals cause of Hausa, Igbos’ crisis in Jos; JNI warns Northerners against reprisal; Islamic Council warns Nnamdi Kanu against attacks on Hausas . . .
Nigerian Army on Friday said politicians were behind the agitation by Nnamdi Kanu and his group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier Gen. Sani Usman, in a statement, lamented that such persons were doing so for their selfish interest.
Brig. Gen. Usman said, inter alia:
“It is so sad and unfortunate that a particular group of people, for political expediency and mischief, are trying to set the military and Nigerian society against each other. It is sad and unfortunate.”
These isolated incidences, instigated by miscreants and mischief makers, therefore, should not be taken as something that should jeopardise the military exercise going on in that place.
It is really sad and unfortunate that people will not find time to ask question about the essence and activities involved in respect of exercise Egwu Eke II before jumping into conclusion.
The exercise is taking part in the entire South East and Cross River, why should we have problem in one state – Abia. There is no reported problem in Imo, Ebonyi, Anambra, Enugu and Cross River States.
There is need for all of us to be more responsible, exercise understanding about the issues at hand, support and encourage the military to perform its legitimate duty. The exercise we are having has been scheduled since last year – 2016. It is not targeted at any segment of the Nigerian society.
As a matter of fact, it was because of the encouraging feedback that we have about the conduct of exercise Python Dance I in 2016 that brought the idea of having another exercise.
“And being a responsible organisation, people said Python Dance seems to be something awkward, so, why don’t you call it in the native language of those people so that they can understand it just like you have exercise Harbin Kunama.
We have had exercises in other parts of the country. As soon as we are done with exercise Egwu Eke II, we are embarking on exercise Crocodile Smile II which is also a scheduled training exercise in the circle of the Nigerian army training year, 2017.
And this time around, beyond the South South Zone, it will be extended to the South West zone, involving 2 Division, 6 Division and 81 Division,’’ the Army spokesman noted.
— Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, Director of Army Public Relations
Abia State government has extended the curfew it imposed on Aba to Sunday. The Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Mr. Enyinnaya Appolos, in a statement, described the effect of the curfew as huge. He said it was a sacrifice residents have to pay to ensure return of normalcy to the city. The CPS said the curfew was extended by Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to sustain the peace and normalcy that was gradually returning to the city.
There was confusion Thursday when the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, announced that soldiers would withdraw from the streets of the capital city of Umuahia and Aba, the commercial nerve centre of the state by Friday, but was contradicted by the army command in Abuja, which said his statement was not true.
In a show of force called Operation Python Dance II, the Nigerian Army had deployed soldiers in Abia State, the home state of IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu, whose group has been agitating for the break-up of Nigeria and the realisation of the Republic of Biafra.
However, the Director of Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, in a statement late last night, said Ikpeazu’s statement on the withdrawal of troops from Aba and Umuahia Friday was not true.
He said: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to some stories in the media that it is withdrawing its troops from Exercise Egwu Eke II (Python Dance II), crediting such information to the Abia State governor and the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division Nigerian Army.
“This is not true. The Nigerian Army wishes to enjoin members of the public to disregard such rumours.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the Abia State governor in his speech stated that ‘there will be gradual withdrawal of soldiers on the streets of Aba and Umuahia from tomorrow’.”
Usman insisted that this should not be misconstrued as withdrawal of troops earmarked for the military exercise, insisting that the GOC 82 Division had said no such thing.
The Igbo and other traders have opened their shops for their normal daily businesses as Kaduna is peaceful without break down of law and order.
A Leadership correspondent who is monitoring the situation in Kaduna reports that the buying and selling is going on without hitches as security operatives were seen patrolling the major roads.
Also, commercial banks and other offices were opened in Kaduna.
Governor Nasir El-Rufai’s spokesman, Samuel Aruwan, who is updating the security situation live, had on Thursday said the security agencies were staging shows of force and patrols as part of the effort to build confidence among citizens and deter mischief-makers.
Aruwan, added that the police and the SSS are also engaged in outreach to: “our communities to update them and to provide reassurance. Our traditional institutions have also been alerted, and they are engaging people in their domains to keep the peace.”
Aruwan, also gave security help lines 08081708671 and 08064810676, firstname.lastname@example.org for residents to report any breach of security for prompt action.
Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State has declared that the state government will not tolerate any attack on other Nigerians living in the state by members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) or any other group. In a state broadcast on the state security situation on Friday, Governor Wike said, inter alia, below:
“The Rivers State Government is seriously concerned with the recent activities of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), particularly . . . Rivers people fully subscribe to Nigeria’s corporate existence and its indivisibility . . . we shall continue to support the unity and peaceful co-existence of all ethnic nationalities . . . Rivers State belongs to all those who live in it . . .we shall not tolerate any attack by any group on other Nigerians living in Oyigbo or any other part of the State . . . We call on Rivers people to be vigilant and not to allow themselves to be used by anybody to foment trouble in our State . . . In as much as we may share common concerns about the structural problems of the country, we believe that dialogue, not violence . . . “
— Nyesom Wike, Governor of Rivers State
The Minister of Interior, retired Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau, has assured Nigerians that the President Muhammadu Buhari led Federal Government would provide adequate security to protect lives and property of citizens. Danbazau said this in Jos while on a fact finding mission to assess the tension in Jos caused by reactions to agitations for secession by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Tension and confusion on Thursday evening in Jos resulted in the death of two people.
Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday met behind closed with the visiting Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The Ugandan President was received on arrival by President Buhari at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, at about 2.25p.m. The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Uganda’s president is on a “friendly visit’’ to Nigeria.
The Plateau State Police Command has warned residents to desist from making provocative comments capable of threatening the existing peace in the State. The Public Relations Officer of the command, ASP Terna Tyopev, gave the warning in an interview with newsmen on Friday in Jos. He was reacting to the Thursday’s clash between some Igbo traders and Hausa youths where two persons were killed.
There was palpable tension in the city of Jos Thursday evening following the report that Hausa youths were attacking Igbos over the situation in the South-East. Areas worst affected by the situation included Akpata, Teminus, Gada-Biyu and Yan-Trailer.
Tyopev said the incident was caused by “the action and comments made by those who are so bent on causing violence,” He maintained that there was no crisis in the state, but minor confusion caused by “enemies of peace. What happened yesterday in some parts of Jos city was not crisis but skirmishes arising from inciting comments from some members of the public.
“Thank God we were able to deploy our officers and men to the affected areas, and normalcy has been restored. However, we must warn citizens of the state against inflammatory statements; people must stop making comments that can be inciting,” he said. Tyopev said the dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed by the state government was still in force and urged the people to obey it.
Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose has described the crackdown on members of the separatist group, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the Southeast as “ethnic cleansing.” Fayose accused President Muhammadu Buhari of bringing the full weight of military might on the Biafra agitators while suspected Fulani herdsmen unleashing terror in some parts of the country are left unchecked. Describing the Nigerian military as “army of occupation . . . ”
Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), has warned Muslim youths and other Northerners against reprisal over the ongoing agitation in Abia State by Biafra group, IPOB. JNI Secretary General, Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu, in Kaduna on Friday called on Juma’at Mosque Imams across the country, particularly in the North to preach peace in their Friday sermon.
Dr Khalid Abubakar Aliyu made the plea at a press briefing with newsmen in Kaduna, urging Southeast leaders to equally call on members of IPOB to stop attacking innocent Nigerians in their region.
Dr Khalid Abubakar also urged security agents to ensure they arrest and bring the perpetrators of the attacks on Muslim Northerners to book.
“Nigerians need to take lessons from crisis happening in other countries of the world. Violence will never be a solution to any crisis. It’s also needless for any Nigerian to feel he is more Nigerian than other Nigerians.
” We must learn to live together in peace and harmony because we are bound by the constitution of this country. JNI urged all juma’at Imams to preach peace in their sermons by calling for peace and to urge people not to retaliate, ” he said.
The JNI also described the attacks on Northerners in Abia state as pathetic, urging government and security agencies to restore peace in the state.
He also urged media practitioners to desist from reporting hate speeches and biased reports capable of inciting people.
The Rivers State Council of Islamic Affairs has warned the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), that it would resist any attempt on its members in Rivers State. The council issued the warning why alleging that IPOB members are planning to attack the Hausa community in the state.
Deputy President of the council, Nasir Uhor, issued the warning while addressing journalists in Port Harcourt, the state capital. The group said: “We want to say categorically that enough is enough, no ethnic group has a monopoly of violence.
“Violence is not rocket science, Muslims have always been targets of the agitations of IPOB. We concede to the right of all citizens to peaceful gatherings to press home their demands.
“We will not accept the continuous attacks on our people because they are Muslims or from the North; not every Muslim is from the North and not all from the north are Muslims. We will regard further attacks as ethnic cleansing.”
This is coming at a time when some members of IPOB allegedly clashed with some Hausas in Oyigbo local government area of the state.
The Inspector-General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, has deployed over 500 Police Mobile Force men to Aba to restore peace in the troubled city. The Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Operations, Taiwo Lakanu, disclosed this on Friday during a duty tour to Aba, at the Aba Police Area Command. He said that the I-G directed that peace should be restored to Abia, hence the deployment of the mobile policemen who had assumed duty in Aba.
The Presidency on Friday disclosed that President Muhammadu Buhari will visit London after attending the United Nations General Assembly in the United States. A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the President, Femi Adesina, said Buhari who would depart Abuja on Sunday for New York, to join other world leaders at the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 72), would return to Nigeria from London.
The leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Thursday met with the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajia Aisha Alhassan, for over two hours, during which the party said that she apologised to it over her recent declaration of support for former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar should he decide to contest the 2019 presidential election over her boss, President Muhammadu Buhari.
However, the party acknowledged that she was entitled to her opinion and her choice.
Alhassan refreshingly backed Atiku over Buhari during a Sallah visit to the former’s residence and doubled down on her stance in a subsequent interview with the BBC.
Addressing journalists after the meeting with the minister, the National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said she accepted her error and apologised.
“Now, having offered her explanation, we acknowledged that as a member of this party, she is entitled to her opinion and entitled to her choice . . . “