Nigeria Army Opens Up On How Unclad IPOB Women Where Treated
The Nigerian Army has denied harassing and rough handling women who gathered in Abiriba, Abia State ,in support of the pro-Biafra group, Indigenous People of Biafra.
A claim made by a group of partly-dressed women in a video posted online, accusing soldiers of stripping, harassing and arresting them, was “false” and “sheer propaganda”, the army said in a statement Saturday.
The 18-minute video posted on Youtube on Friday showed the women barely clad, some with bare chests while others wore undergarments and wrappers as they marched to the home of the Abiriba Community chief to complain about an alleged attack on them by the Nigerian Army.
In the amateur footage, the women accused the army of invading their meeting and seizing their properties.
“They tore our clothes, took four of our members, seized our vehicle and properties as they shot sporadically in the air,” one of the women told the chief in Igbo dialect in the video.
The IPOB leadership in a statement by its publicity secretary, Emma Powerful, condemned the attack, and blamed soldiers from the military cantonment at Ohafia, Abia State, for the assault.
He also alleged that the Nigeria police joined the soldiers in the attack.
Reacting, the deputy director, Public Relations, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Sagir Musa, said the claims were aimed at discrediting the army.
Mr. Musa, a colonel, said, “I was able to confirm from the Officer in Charge of patrol of Abiriba and its environs, Major Danjuma Ali, and the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Abiriba, Superintendent Titus Ugwuoke, who briefed me – there was no truth in IPOB’s accusation.
“Details of what transpired are/were;
“That on Thursday 18 May 2017, at about 1705 hours, soldiers of 14 Brigade Ohafia on routine patrol in Abiriba general area, received a distressed call alerted them of massive presence of IPOB women wing in Abiriba township stadium. Most of them (the women) were carrying Biafran flags, banners and other insignia. Majority were dressed in Biafran T-Shirts.
“Instant intelligence revealed that majority of the women came from Aba, Awka, Onitsha, Owerri and Port Harcourt axis as reflected on the various banners exhibited in the stadium.
“By Friday 19 May 2017, at about 0930 hours, women in large number surged towards the stadium. At that point, the patrol team moved close to the arena, with intent to monitor them further. On sighting the team, the women ran out, removed part of their dresses and converged in an alternate venue where the Divisional Police Officer, Abiriba and His Majesty Eze Ogbu of Abiriba addressed the gathering. After the Eze’s address, they peacefully dispersed to their various destinations.
“His Royal Majesty Eze Ogbu has since briefed the Local Government Chairman and members of the Local Government Security Council on the matter, and there was nothing to suggest the women were rough handled or arrested.”
But in the video posted on the social network site, a man whom the women addressed as the Abiriba community chief said he would do everything within his power to make sure everything taken from the women were returned.
“Everybody has a right to associate with anything or any organisation. It’s a free world,” he said.
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