As tension in Abia escalates due to the deployment of troops of Operation Python Dance 11, and the resultant skirmishes with members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), the state Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu, said on Thursday that soldiers would be withdrawn from the streets of Abia by Friday.
Fielding questions on Thursday at Government House, Umuahia, the Governor said the situation was too tense for comfort hence the withdrawal.
He said the situation in the past few days, which led to the deployment of soldiers ahead of Operation Python Dance II, a military exercise by the Nigerian Army, had generated great concerns to both the government and the people.
“I will also be meeting the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari, to discuss possible ways of relaxing Operation Python Dance II in the state for now.”
He however added that the withdrawal would not affect the military checkpoints that were at various locations in the state before the coming of the Operation Python Dance.
He warned mischief makers to stay away from Abia, adding that agitations and protests would not be tolerated.
“Mischief makers who want to use Abia as their base, let me announce to you that henceforth, Abia will be too hot for you to carry out your wicked acts.
“The state government will work with security agents to ensure the protection of lives and property without fear or favour. There will be no hiding place for you.”
He also urged residents of Aba to fully observe the current curfew in the city and ensure that they cooperate with security agents to maintain peace and order.
Ikpeazu said it was in the interest of the people of Abia for peace and security to be restored, as meaningful progress could not be achieved in an atmosphere of violence and anarchy.
He further advised members of the public to stop spreading rumours capable of throwing the state into disorder, warning that anyone caught perpetrating such acts would be dealt with according to the law.
“I swore to protect lives and properties of all Abians and residents and that I must do.
“I, therefore, call on all to support our efforts at making sure that lasting peace prevails in our dear state,” Ikpeazu added.
Tension in the state rose to a boiling point Thursday morning following reported shooting of three people on Akanu Ibiam Road by soldiers suspected to be attached to Operation Python Dance 11.
This is also as unknown gunmen in the early hours of Thursday attacked a police station in Ariaria area of the state.