***Gov Ikpeazu says soldiers to be withdrawn from Umuahia, Aba Friday
The Indeginous People of Biafra (IPOB) has accussed the Nigerian Army of meeting with GSM providers notably Glo, MTN, 9mobile among others in a bid to halt communications within the South East area to contain social media usage.
This is coming as Governor Okezie Ikpeazu said soldiers would be withdrawn from Umuahia and Aba on Friday even as the Nigerian Army warned against trending videos and pictures on social media depicting atrocities against the civilians in Abia State.
A short statement issued by the group said “The Nigerian government under Dictator Muhammadu Buhari is about to repeat the media blockage they used against Biafra during 1967-1970 genocide as a weapon of war.”
“We hereby alert the UN, EU, AU, ISRAEL, and the international community to wade into Biafran matter and save Biafrans from another genocide.”
The Nigerian Army has said that it was probing video clip trending on social media and other platforms purportedly showing troops humiliating some people at a check point in Abia State, Nigeria. The Nigerian Army in a statement by Colonel Sagir Musa, Deputy Director Army Public Relations 82 Division Nigerian said “the attention of the Headquarters 82 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to a video clip trending on social media and other platforms purportedly showing troops humiliating some people at a check point in Abia State, Nigeria. The issue is being investigated with the view to ascertain the source and the actors in the clip.
“Our Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagement are quite clear and any officer or soldier that infringed on any of such directive if found guilty, will face full wrath of the military justice system. We would like inform the public that 82 Division is also aware of the planned misinformation and propaganda arrangement by the secessionists Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). They intend to churn out prerecorded video clips aimed at discrediting the Nigerian Army, causing disaffection among the citizens of this country. They will be using bogus, manipulated and photo-shopped photographs as well as video clips’.
But the South East Caucus of the Senate condemned the deployment of soldiers to the South East. A statement issued by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe said the operation taking place in a peace time has fouled the environment.
“We had hoped that our ongoing engagement with the group would be given a chance but here we are with a hurried military action deep into a highly populated area with high propensity for casualty, which occurrence would rather escalate the already tense situation.
“It is more worrisome that military operation, ‘Python Dance 2,’ restricted to the South-East in a peace time, has no doubt fouled the environment and sent strong signal that the region is under siege, which should not be so in a democracy.
“We, therefore, urge extreme caution and advise the military to de-escalate the situation and choose the best operational modus that will not only guaranty the safety of Nigerians but also enhance national unity.
“Nigeria is not at war, people are only exercising their constitutional and universally guaranteed rights, so far they are carrying on in a manner that has never given room to violence which could warrant a wholesale military expedition.”