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Gov Otti commends Army for dousing tension in Abia, vows to fish out masterminds of mindless shooting of Soldiers in Aba

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Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, has assured that the State Government will work with the security agencies to fish out the criminal elements, who ambushed an army post at Obikabia in Obingwa Local Government Area on Thursday, May 30, and killed five soldiers.

Governor Otti in statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary Kazie Uko thanked the Nigeria Army high command for reducing the tension that had enveloped the State, following the initial panic and apprehension that seized residents as a result of the barbaric killings, by not allowing aggrieved soldiers tow the part of reprisal.

The Governor, who was at the headquarters of the 144 Infantry Battalion of the Nigeria Army in Asa, Ukwa West Local Government Area, on Saturday, on a condolence visit to the wives of the slain soldiers, commiserated with the army and announced a package to take care of the families the fallen soldiers left behind.

“Let me start by sending out words of sympathy to the Nigeria Army, the Brigade Commander (Brigadier General O. O. Diya) himself, and most importantly the families of the five fallen heroes.

“We, as a government, will continue to condemn this dastardly act, a very irresponsible act committed by criminals, who do not want any good for society.

“It’s very sad, but then, it has happened and because it has happened, we will need to move on, but we cannot move on without identifying those who are responsible.

“It’s as if General Diya was with me at the last place that we went to, where I had promised that we will smoke out whoever is remotely connected to this killing, whoever they are, wherever they are, wherever they run to.

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“We are going to work like we have always done, closely with security agencies, particularly the intelligence unit of the security agencies, to ensure that we leave no stone unturned.

“So, I want to reassure the military high command and the leadership of the military in Abia that we are working together to ensure that we bring those people to book.

“The reason I came here (144 Battalion) today is to sympathise with you; to let you know that I feel your pain and I can understand what you’re going through at this time.

“On behalf of the government and people of Abia State, I want to assure you that we are behind you. We know that the military high command will also look after you, but because your husband’s died here in Abia, we have adopted you as daughters of Abia and your children as children of Abia.

“We have also put a plan in place to ensure that your children would get automatic scholarship until they finish university. From today, until they graduate, they have become the responsibility of the Abia State Government and we’re going to make it a law so that even when I leave somebody else will not stop it,” Governor Otti declared.

He thanked General Diya for helping to de-escalate the tension that had built up in and around Obikabia after the killings, especially Aba, which had come under lock down, by ensuring free movement of innocent residents and not embarking on a reprisal as an army statement had been credited.

“I heard when the army talked about revenge, I think the right expression should have been that we will smoke out the criminals and deal with them.

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“It is not even possible for the good Abia people that I lead to be involved in this. We suspect, even though that I don’t have proof that they are people that came from outside to destabilise the good things happening in Abia and we will not let them go scot free.

“I’m happy that you listened to my call that we de-escalate the tension and I really want to thank you. Aba was on lockdown, but as soon as we had our meeting and we spoke, you reduced the tension and de-accelerated the tension. I really want to thank you,” the Governor said.

Earlier, the Brigade Commander, Brig-General Diya said the army were not relenting in their efforts to apprehend the perpetrators of the heinous act, disclosing that they have been gathering intelligence to bring whoever that is directly or remotely connected to the killing to book.

He recalled that two operational vehicles belonging to the army were burnt, weapons carted away, while five personnel lost their lives during the unfortunate attack.

The Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Emmanuel Emeruwa; Senator Darlington Nwokocha, the Chief of staff to the Governor, Pastor Caleb Ajagba; among other government functionaries, accompanied the Governor on the visit.

KAZIE UKO
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
Abia State
Government House, Umuahia
June 2, 2024.