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IPOB to Army: Accept responsibility for your action against our women

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The Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, has asked the Nigerian Army to be courageous enough to accept responsibility of its action of attacking and molesting IPOB women during their Women’s Conference on May 19, 2017, in Abiriba, Abia State, instead of lying and trying to  exonerate itself from its barbaric  act.

IPOB members at Federal High Court Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

But in a swift reaction to the accusation, the Nigerian Army denied the  allegation by the IPOB, saying nothing of such happened.

IPOB in a statement by its Media and Publicity Secretary, Mr. Emma Powerful, alleged that “it has been the routine of the Nigerian Army and other military organizations, to lie and exonerate themselves any time they take an action in the public that seemed to tarnish their image in Nigeria and in the face of the international community.

“It  is unfortunate that the Nigerian Army would deny the  attack, molestation and harassment of our mothers during their Women Conference in Abiriba, even when the pictures and videos of the foot soldiers  are going viral on every social media platform.

“It is also an act of cowardice for the Nigerian Army to claim that the 78 pictures already trending on the social media were photo-shopped and stage-managed by IPOB to ridicule the image of the Nigerian Army, when the Army in Nigeria and other military formations have at one time or the other done things that put their image at stake and ridiculed them in the face of Nigerians and the international community. So, this latest one is not the first and an exception.

“We, the entire Biafrans and members of IPOB  and our leadership worldwide led by Mr. Nnamdi Kanu wish to use this opportunity to highlight to the entire public that the Nigerian Army has lied again by trying to exonerate themselves from the attack and molestation of IPOB women during their  annual conference in Abiriba, Abia State.

“The Nigerian Army and police stormed the venue where the IPOB women were holding their women’s meeting with the intention of disrupting the meeting, molesting and arresting them, but to their surprise, all the women stood their ground and resisted them. They thought they were going to overpower them because they were women, but they saw a different Biafran women in action.

“It is an indisputable fact from information, photographs and video shots available to us, that some women were arrested naked, and their arrest resulted to the other women protesting naked on the streets of Abiriba in Abia State.”

We did not molest IPOB women — Army

But in a statement issued by the Headquarters, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, they described the allegation as “comical.”

Signed by Colonel Sagir Musa, Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Nigerian Army further described the  allegation as “funny” and as way to discredit the Nigerian Army.

According to the statement,“Let me make it clear that the drama and the allegation that followed are deliberately staged by IPOB.

“The allegation, just like others before it, is false, sheer IPOB’s propaganda to discredit the Nigerian Army, which at the moment, they will not succeed.

“Hence, I was able to confirm from the Officer in Charge of patrol of Abiriba and its environs, Major Danjuma Ali, and the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Abiriba, Superintendent Titus Ugwuoke, who briefed me. There was no truth in the IPOB’s accusation.”

Biafra women protest alleged soldiers’ molestation

Details of what transpired according to Colonel Musa was that “on Thursday 18, May 2017, at about 17.05 hours, soldiers of 14 Brigade on routine patrol in Abiriba general area, received a distressed call which alerted them of massive presence of IPOB women wing in Abiriba Stadium.

“Most of them (women) were carrying Biafran flags, banners and other insignia. Majority were dressed in Biafran T-shirts. Instant intelligence revealed that majority of the women came from Aba, Awka, Onitsha, Owerri and Port Harcourt axis as reflected on the various banners exhibited in the stadium. Consequently, own patrol team was monitoring the situation.

By Friday, May 19, 2017, at about 09.30 hours, women in large number surged towards the stadium. It was at that point the patrol team moved close to the arena, with intent to monitor them further.

On sighting the team, the women ran out, removed part of their dresses and converged in an alternate venue where the Divisional Police Officer, Abiriba and His Royal Majesty Eze Ogbu of Abiriba addressed the gathering. After the Eze’s address, they peacefully dispersed to their various destinations.

His royal Majesty, Eze Ogbu has since briefed the Local Government chairman and members of the Local Government Security Council on the matter, and there was nothing to suggest that the women were rough handled or arrested.

On the basis of the declared details, it is reasonable to assert that there was no contact between army personnel and the IPOB women wing in Abiriba or in any part of the South Eastern Nigeria.

So, it is the position of 82 Division Nigerian Army that no woman was harassed, molested or arrested as comically staged/alleged. It is pertinent to state that the leadership of the Division is doing much to ensure that human rights are protected at all times”, Musa said.

 

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