Apparently afraid of reprisal attacks, northerners in the South East have started fleeing in droves. It was observed in Aba, Owerri and Onitsha northerners are boarding trailers heading to the North. As a result, most of the business they dominate are now having Igbo operators.
A visit to the cattle market,Waterside Ogborhill Aba, showed that northerners, who sell onions and tomatoes, are no longer there. Also, northern shoe makers, nail cutters and suya vendors are not in sight.
Northerners, who work as gate men in different compounds and companies have also left Onitsha.
This as at least 7 pro-Biafrans have been said to have been killed in clashes with the Nigerian military.
The ever busy Hausa quarters (aka Ama Hausa) along Douglas Road, Owerri, Imo State, is now a shadow of itself, following the exodus of Hausa families.
It was gathered that women and children of northern origin have been sent home for safety, while the men (Husbands) remain to monitor the situation.
Suya sellers of northern origin were seen at their business posts at Ama Hausa and the Central Mosque area. At Mbaise Road/Douglas Junction Owerri, selling their wares.
Mallam Maggai Mohamed, a father of seven, said he has no option but to remain Owerri, to continue his lace business in order to feed his family.
“To me, I believe I have no problem with anybody in area having lived here for more than 40 years. It will not be easy for me to adjust if I relocated to my home state, Sokoto State. The Igbo have been accommodating and we are pleading with them not to embark on any reprisal attack.
PRESS STATEMENT BY THE GOVERNOR OF ABIA STATE OKEZIE IKPEAZU Ph. D ON THE SECURITY SITUATION IN THE STATE
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, 10th September, 2017, could presumably be attributed to the commencement of the said Operation Python Dance II.
The Abia State Government unequivocally states that Abia is a component State of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and subscribes to the supremacy of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and all other extant laws.
While the Government of Abia State recognizes the right of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies, to perform their statutory duty of protection of lives and property of Nigerian citizens, such duties must be carried out within acclaimed Nigerian and international standards of engagement with the civil populace, with due respect to the human rights of citizens and sanctity of human lives.
The Abia State Government is committed to the protection of the lives and properties of its citizens and others residing and doing business within the geographical entity called Abia State.
Abians and others living within Abia, are advised to remain law abiding and carry on their lawful business without fear, as efforts by Government will be made to reduce friction between the civil populace and military personnel in the State.
Meanwhile, Aba residents are advised to observe a curfew from 6pm to 6am from today 12/09/2017 to 14/09/2017.
Persons residing within the State are strongly advised to remain law abiding, while going about their lawful business without fear of molestation, and, not engage in any form of confrontation with military personnel or other security agents.
The Government recognizes the constitutional Right to Freedom of Movement for all Nigerians, but objects to the influx of people into Abia State for purposes of unsettling the enduring peace in the State.
Finally, Abia State will co – operate with security agencies to maintain the rule of law and order in the State.
Okezie Ikpeazu PhD
Governor, Abia State
Operation Python Dance Declared Illegal
Several civil right activists have declared Operation Python Dance as illegal and in contravention of section 2017 of the Nigerian constitution which declares the role and eeployment of the army.
The army had announced that its deployment was to check banditry however the constitution gives no such authority and deployment is subject to approval by the National Assembly.