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Otti Visits Nigerian Military Base Again, Appeals for Release of Innocent Suspects

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Abia State Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, OFR, continued his morale-boosting shuttle for the officers and men of the Nigeria Army on Thursday with a visit to the 144 Battalion Osisioma, Abayi, near Aba.

Governor Otti’s visit to the army formation followed his visit last Saturday to the 144 Battalion Asa, where he commiserated with the officers there as well as paid condolences to the wives of the deceased soldiers, who were killed by yet-to-be-identified gunmen on May 30 at Obikabia.

The Governor, who was received on arrival at 144 Battalion by the Commanding Officer, Major K.P. Duniya, on behalf of the Commander, 14 Brigade Ohafia, Brigadier General O.O. Diya, who later joined in receiving the Governor, told the troop that he had come to commiserate with them, encourage them and to let them know that the Abia State Government will continue to support them as they carry on the onerous national duty of protecting the citizens.

“I came specifically to address you on the unfortunate incident that happened a week ago in Obikabia Junction in Obingwa Local Government Area, very close to Aba.

“My name is Alex Otti, I am the Governor of Abia State. I feel it is my responsibility as the Chief Security Officer of the State to speak to you, commiserate with you, and also ensure that your morale is boosted, that you don’t get discouraged and you don’t get distracted by this unfortunate incident.

“The State has already placed a bounty of 25 million Naira on anybody who has information that will lead to the arrest and prosecution of people who were involved in this dastardly act, remotely or directly.

“We have started getting very credible information. This intelligence gathering will continue, but I do not want it to dampen your morale. We have all been working together to secure this State in the last one year that I have been the Governor of the State, and I want to encourage you to continue your work, don’t get distracted.

“I believe, from credible intelligence available to us, that this criminal act may have been executed by people who are opposed to the progress and the good things that are happening in Abia. One of the last things we want to do is to humour them by allowing them to distract us.

“So, we will get to the root of the matter, we will arrest everyone that is involved. I have in the last few days also visited the widows of the five gallant officers that were brutally murdered. As a State we have committed to absorbing them, whether they come from the State or not, we have absorbed them as part of this State. All their children are now on scholarship and they will remain on scholarship until they graduate from the university and we will also keep supporting the widows and ensure that they do not lack anything.

“I want to assure you that this State will do everything possible to ensure that all of you are protected,” Governor Otti guaranteed.

The Governor reiterated his appeal to the Army to carry out their investigation conscious of the fact that some of those already arrested in the course of investigation may be innocent.

He said: I’m also aware that some people have been picked up before now, but when I spoke with the GOC this morning, he told me that virtually everyone that was picked up has been released except for about nine or 10 people who are still being investigated.

“We, as a State, support thorough investigation, but we will also appeal to you that a lot of innocent civilians, who you will encounter may not have been involved. I believe that most of them are not involved. It is even possible that those who committed this crime came from outside the State. So whatever be the case we will not like to punish those who are innocent with those who are guilty because like it is said, two wrongs cannot make a right.

“So, I will like to encourage you, I will like to appeal to your leaders to ensure that people are treated decently, people are given the utmost respect that they deserve while we are doing our job of fishing out the criminals.

“Once again, I just want to say thank you for the work you are doing in Abia. Thank you, on behalf of the Government and people of Abia State. Continue to do your work.

“In the last one year criminal activities have gone down drastically and it is attributable to you. Most times, I drive around, even some times at midnight with few security, and I see how you people are at alert.

“So, continue to be alert and I don’t want anybody to be discouraged and for their spirits to go down. Once again, CO thank you for this opportunity and I will like to say that at the end of the day, we will get the criminals.”

KAZIE UKO
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
Abia State
Government House, Umuahia
June 6, 2024.

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