The government of Abia State on Tuesday slammed down a two-day curfew, to be in effect from 6pm to 6am, ending on Thursday.
In a press statement, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu cited the reported skirmishes between some groups in the state, especially the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), with men of the Nigerian Army, noting a frenzy of activities in the past few months, particularly in the area of Afara–Umuahia, the home of the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, whom he did not name.
“Government is equally aware of the recent proclamation by the Nigerian Army of Operation Python Dance II within the South – East geo-political region of Nigeria,’ he said, adding that 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.
According to the statement, the recent confrontation between the Army and members of IPOB last Sunday may be attributed to the commencement of 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,” Governor Ikpeazu affirmed.
He further stated that while his government recognizes the right of the 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.
He committed his government to the protection of the lives and properties of its citizens and others residing and doing business within Abia, advising them to remain law abiding and carry on their lawful business without fear, as the government will make efforts to reduce friction between the civil populace and military personnel in the State.
He strongly advised all persons residing within the State to remain law abiding, while going about their lawful business without fear of molestation, saying they must not engage in any form of confrontation with military personnel or other security agents.
Governor Ikpeazu stressed that 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, adding that Abia State will co-operate with security agencies to maintain the rule of law and order.