There is palpable tension in Imo and Enugu states following the large movements of military hardware from 82 Division of the Nigerian Army on Wednesday evening and Thursday morning. Residents were unsure the motive behind the large movement of the hardware and military personnel, including armored personnel carriers (APC). Some residents of Okigwe, Imo State, told Easterner on Thursday that over 50 Armoured Personnel Carriers were transported to the state and were accompanied by hundreds of troops from Enugu.
“Some of our people have been killed in the past by the soldiers without justice. Remember that Governor Hope Uzodinma had warned pro-Biafra groups and unknown gunmen to lay down their arms within 10 days or he will crush them. Tell me who is not pro-Biafra in Imo State? Unless the governor wants to tell us he has declared war on us. How many more people will he kill?
“All the soldiers they are importing here are Muslims whose hatred for Igbo is second to none.”
But the Nigerian Army has allayed the fears, saying that the deployment was part of its 2022 Army Day Celebration which would hold in Imo State between June 29 and July 6, 2022. The Director Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, told Easterner that the residents of Imo state had nothing to fear with regards to the movement of military hardware.
According to him, “the Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) is an annual event aimed at showcasing the commitment of the Nigerian Army (NA) over the years, as a professional responsive force. The event for year 2022 is scheduled to hold in Owerri, Imo State from 29 June to 6 July.”
He said that as part of activities lined up for the weeklong event include; parade among others, and therefore, “residents of Imo state and particularly within Owerri, would witness increased movements of troops and military equipment for the ceremony.
“The good people of Imo State are therefore advised not to panic but remain calm and go about their normal activities peacefully.”