Nigerian Newspapers on Wednesday, September 13, have focused on the alleged invasion of Nnamdi Kanu's home in Abia state by the Nigerian army amongst other top stories.
The Guardian reports that there was tension in Abia State yesterday as soldiers laid siege to the Afaraukwu country home of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, and clashed with members of his group leading to the alleged death of 15 persons.
It was learnt that the soldiers arrived in the community yesterday barely 48 hours after the clash between them and IPOB members on Sunday evening.
The return of the soldiers with about 10 armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and seven Hilux vans caused panic in the area, forcing shop owners to close immediately. Some of the soldiers also invaded the Abia State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists on Aba Road, Umuahia, and destroyed laptops and other valuables. According to journalists at the secretariat, the soldiers claimed they saw somebody taking photographs of them from the building.
The chairman of Council, Mr. John Emejor, who confirmed the incident, said a national officer of the union, Ezeogo Bonny Okoro was slapped by one of the soldiers.
“Our stand is that those involved in this attack on innocent journalists should be fished out and punished in line with the constitution of the country,” he said.
The assistant director, Army Public Relations, 14 Brigade, Major Oyegoke Gbadamosi, confirmed the incident and asked Emejor to send the photograph of the damaged office to him.
Yesterday, truckloads of IPOB members headed for Afaraukwu apparently to show solidarity to Kanu. Some members of the group moving into Umuahia were allegedly confronted at Isiala-Ngwa junction yesterday afternoon by soldiers. Some of the trucks conveying IPOB members waving the Biafra flags were seen on the dilapidated Enugu-Port Harcourt highway yesterday evening on their way to Abia state.
What started like a drama of sort at the Isialangwa junction in Abia later snowballed into a major crisis that claimed lives and injuries. The Guardian learnt that at least 10 trucks were burnt with over 15 dead bodies lying on the Aba-Port Harcourt highway yesterday evening.
It was learnt that the majority of those who died were either felled by bullets allegedly fired by soldiers or hit by other objects while trying to escape.
The Punch reports that tension has returned to Umuahia, the Abia State capital, as soldiers, on Tuesday, laid siege to the Afaraukwu country home of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu.
The soldiers arrived in the community on Tuesday barely 48 hours after the clash between the Army and IPOB members on Sunday, where three people were reportedly injured.
It was learnt that the soldiers returned to the state capital with about 10 Armoured Personnel Carriers and seven Hilux vans.
The development created panic in the area, forcing shop owners to hurriedly close their shops.
The soldiers were also seen at the secretariat of the Abia State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists on Aba Road, Umuahia, where they destroyed laptops and other valuables.
A journalist at the NUJ secretariat told one of our correspondents that, “Soldiers stormed the press centre, claiming that they saw somebody taking photographs of them from the one-storey building office.”
The chairman of the council, Mr. John Emejo, confirmed the incident.
Emejor, who expressed disappointment with the incident, said a national officer of the union, Ezeogo Okoro, was slapped by one of the soldiers.
He said, “Our press centre was invaded by soldiers; two journalists lost their IPads and phones, while a national leader of the union was attacked.
“Our stand is that those involved in this attack on innocent journalists should be fished out and punished in line with the constitution of the country.”
When contacted, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 14 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Maj. Oyegoke Gbadamosi, said he had asked the chairman of the council to send the photograph of the damage in the office to him.
Gbadamosi later expressed regrets over the reported attack on some journalists.
In a telephone interview, the spokesman said he was shocked to hear that military personnel invaded the NUJ secretariat.
Gbadamosi promised to look into the incident.
The Nation also reported workers are angry with governors who blew their state’s share of the N760.17 billion Paris Club loan refund.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s comment on how states failed to pay salaries despite the huge cash injection has provoked the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC). It is threatening to “name and shame” governors who failed to spend the refund on salaries and pension.
Besides, the President should demand that the governors account for the money before any further release is made to them, the NLC said yesterday.
NLC President Ayuba Wabba said it was unfortunate that despite their promises to pay workers’ salaries and pension, the governors refused to live by their word.
He said that some of the governors had even refused to disclose how much they received and how it was spent.
Wabba accused the Chairman of the Governors Forum, Zamfara State Governor Abdulazeez Yari, who made a commitment on behalf of his colleagues of not spending the money judiciously.
He said the President was reacting to its letter asking him not to approve the release of the third and last tranche of the fund to the governors until they account for what they have received.
Wabba said: “It is our letter he was reacting to. At our CWC meeting, we called on him not to release the last tranche of the Paris Club refund to the states because the governors have not kept their word.
“You remember that Chairman of the Governors Forum alluded to the fact that they are committed to using the money to address the liability of pension and salaries. Unfortunately, the Chairman of the Governors Forum has not lived up to those words.
“As you are aware, our workers in Zamfara have shut down the state. He himself who made the pronouncement could not honour the words that he pronounced on behalf of his colleagues. That is to show the level of deceit that is actually in the system and that is why we decided to write to the President to ensure that there is a level of accountability to show that he is actually on the same page with the governors.
Vanguard reports that the military ‘show of force’ in Umuahia as part of Operation Python Dance II (Egwu Eke II) took a dangerous twist, yesterday, forcing the Abia State Government to declare a three-day curfew in Aba, to ensure peace.
In response to the security situation in Abia State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, in a statement after the State’s Security meeting, which he personally signed, declared three days of curfew in Aba to maintain calm.
The curfew The statement read: “Abia State has for the past few days been the focus of security searchlight occasioned by the reported skirmish between some groups in the state, especially Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) with men of the Nigerian Army.
“Government notes and has observed the frenzy of activities of members of IPOB within Afara – Umuahia, the ancestral home of the leader of IPOB for some months now. “Government is equally aware of the recent proclamation by the Nigerian Army of Operation Python Dance II within the South–East geopolitical region of Nigeria.
“The operation as declared by the Army is intended to check kidnapping, banditry, assassination, secessionist activities within the region, amongst other forms of criminal activities.
“The recent confrontation between the Nigerian Army and members of IPOB on Sunday, September 10, 2017, could presumably be attributed to the commencement of the said Operation Python Dance II.
Thisday also reports that Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt, Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia, Damilola Oyedele and Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja
Following Sunday’s clash between the civil populace, especially members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and soldiers of the Nigerian Army at the country home of the IPOB Leader Nnamdi Kanu, as well as further skirmishes Tuesday around the border communities between Abia and Rivers State, the Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikeazu, has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew on Aba, the commercial capital of the state.
This is just as Kanu’s lawyer, Mr. Ifeanyi Ejiofor, claimed that soldiers laid siege to the IPOB leader’s residence in Afaraukwu, Umuahia in Abia State, Tuesday and placed him under house arrest.
According to the lawyer, the latest invasion on Kanu’s residence led to a clash between IPOB members and the deaths of four persons with several others injured.
But even as the claim that Kanu had been placed under house arrest could not be verified, another clash took place in the neighbouring Oyigbo community in Rivers State between IPOB members and the military, which eyewitnesses said resulted in the deaths of two persons and many injured. Oyigbo is about 25km from Aba in Abia state.
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However, the Nigerian Army has denied that Kanu’s residence was invaded Tuesday, stating that no soldiers were deployed to his residence and that its operation in the South-east, known as Operation Python Dance II, was not targeted at him. The army also denied the clash in Oyigbo.
Ikpeazu, who addressed journalists after an emergency meeting of the security council in the state which was convened over the security situation, said the curfew came into effect Tuesday and would last for three days (September 12-14) between 6pm and 6am, adding that “Aba residents are advised to observe the curfew”.
Meanwhile, watch NAIJ.com TV interview with IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu's lawyer about the military invasion: