Governor Okezie Ikpeazu has expressed satisfaction with the way the Army High Command dealt with the unfortunate killing of the young man by a soldier at Obingwa last week.
Speaking to SECURITY WATCH AFRICA yesterday, the Governor said that part of the reasons that escalated the crisis was the initial denial by the Army that the killer was not one of them.
“It was a wrong move that naturally backfired. Luckily, the people from that area clearly identified the culprit and even named him. Again, we insisted that justice must be done in the matter. We had to activate every available contact at our disposal to get the attention of the highest authority in the Army and their response has been very satisfactory. Today, the Nigerian Army has formally owned up to the incident. They have tendered a public apology on the incident and have made a commitment to bring the soldier who is in detention, to justice. After their ongoing investigations, the soldier will likely be dismissed from the Army and arraigned before our regular courts for the offense. This has sent a clear message that we care for our citizens and we will take every legitimate step to pursue justice for them in cases like this.
I want to specifically commend the Commander of the 14 Brigade Ohafia and the GOC of the 82 Division at Enugu for their personal intervention in this matter. They were always available for discussions on the way forward in this matter and they were very cooperative. While a life has sadly been lost, the family of the deceased will have some comfort that that person who killed their son will face justice. Again, soldiers will now understand that you cannot just kill someone in Abia State, no matter how lowly placed, and get away with it”.
On how to relate with soldiers who operate in the state, Ikpeazu had this to say…
“It is a misnomer for soldiers to be on the streets. They are not trained to be on the streets and relate with the civil populace. That is the job of the police. Soldiers are on our streets because of our security challenges which appear to have overwhelmed our Police. The soldiers are also here for our own good.
But our people must understand that soldiers are trained to kill. All over the world, nations maintain armies as killing machines. Soldiers make peace through war. Soldiers don’t have IPOs. They don’t take statements like the police. Therefore, our people must deal with soldiers with caution, and not fear. Law abiding citizens have nothing to fear when you see a soldier. If there is need for communication with a soldier, please do so clearly and there won’t be any problem. We must avoid needless confrontations with soldiers. The Army Command has assured me that there won’t be a repeat of that incident but our people must tread with caution when dealing with a soldier, while as a government, we will continue to insist that soldiers operate within bounds of civility and respect for the human rights of our people. We believe that the unfortunate incident of last week is an isolated case that won’t happen again while we look forward to a time when crime rates will go down to their barest minimum and soldiers can return to the barracks where they truly belong”.