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6 Sep 2017

Normalcy return to Umuahia after tricycle operators, soldiers’ clash

Calm has returned to Umuahia, the Abia State capital, after the clash between soldiers and tricycle operators that caused pandemonium in the city on Monday evening.

PUNCH gathered that shop owners within the city centre where the incident happened had opened their shops for business as early as 7am.

Although there was heavy presence of police officers and members of the Abia State vigilante group in the area, a resident who did not want to be named, accused the soldier who was injured in the incident of extorting money from motorists and tricycle operators in the area.

He said the incident had nothing to do with a fight between the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and soldiers.

The Security Adviser to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu, Captain Awa Kalu (retd.), said with the information available to him there was no proof that any civilian was injured in the incident.

He said, “If uniform people are doing their normal duties it behoves on citizens of Nigeria should give them adequate support to discharge their duties decently and effectively. As it is now and the fact I have is that a soldier was injured when  his gun was allegedly smashed on his head but this is still a subject for further verification. However, normalcy has been restored.

“But I don’t believe that extortion caused the crisis because I don’t want to work on rumours; the people that give this money should report to the police, nobody has the right to give government officials money that is not going to the governments’ account. It is also an offence for anybody to give money to any government without a service rendered, so those people that give the money should report to you journalists about this alleged extortion before it causes crisis.”

The Special Adviser to Governor Ikpeazu on ICT and Social Media, Mr. John Okeiyi, commended the police for bringing the situation under control and ensuring that no life was lost.

He warned members of the public to always verify information before posting it on the social media.

He said,” The incident that happened yesterday (Monday) was an unfortunate one, but we thank God that no live was lost on both sides of the divide. We thank those who handled the situation for doing that in a decent manner without lost of lives.

“This is the social media era, we want to caution people to be sure of the information they sent out on the social media, it appears as if there are people who want to seize any opportunity to cause crisis in the state. We want to call on people to disregard the version that the incident was as a result of crisis between the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra and soldiers.”

Meanwhile, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Geoffrey Ogbonna, said the police had arrested some of the residents involved in the incident, adding that investigation was still ongoing to ascertain the cause of incident.

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