Abia Soldiers’ Killing: APC, PDP Mourn as Kalu Inaugurates Victims Peace Fund

•Over N30 million raised in 24 hours

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia and Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The main opposition parties in Abia State have expressed unity with the ruling Labour Party government in mourning the five soldiers slain by suspected gunmen at Obikabia in Obingwa Local Government Area, on May 30.

Both the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), all condemned the gruesome murders and commiserated with families of the deceased, army authorities and government.

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu has inaugurated a seven-man Peace Fund Committee to help raise financial assistance for the victims of insecurity in the South East region.

However, barely 24 hours after the launching of the Fund, over N30 million has been raised.

A statement signed by the chairman of Abia APC, Dr. Kingsley Ononogbu, expressed sadness and condemned the deadly attack on troops of 144 Battalion deployed at Obikabia junction on Operation Udoka.

He regretted the loss of the five the troops, cut short in such a callous and dastardly manner while they were on lawful duty of providing security for the state.

The Abia APC chairman urged the army and other security agencies to be thorough and diligent in their investigations to avoid doing harm to innocent persons.

“We, therefore, appeal for the cooperation and total support of the people with the security agencies to root out the criminals,” he said.

On its part, the Abia PDP described the killing of the soldiers as “quite regrettable, especially coming at a time when officers and men of the Nigerian military are working tirelessly to rid society of tension and anarchy”.

In a signed statement, the Abia PDP Vice-chairman/acting publicity secretary, Hon. Amah Abraham, called on the governor “to engage peacefully with the Nigerian Army to ensure that this sad incident does not escalate and consume more souls.

“We also call the good people of Abia State to be cautious and remain peaceful and law abiding during this sad period, and at other times, and avoid actions capable of fueling the already tense situation”.

While condoling with the Nigerian Army on the loss of the gallant soldiers, Abia PDP pleaded with them “to be discerning in fishing out the perpetrators and ensure that innocent citizens do not fall victims to your efforts to give your slain colleagues justice”.

Meanwhile, Deputy Reps Speaker Kalu had during his condolence visit to 144 Battalion Headquarters in Asa, Ukwa West Local Government Area of Abia State on Sunday, announced the setting up of the committee and subsequently made a donation of N10 million to kick start the process.

The Chief Press Secretary to the Deputy Speaker, Levinus Nwabughiogu, in a statement issued Monday said that while inaugurating the committee in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State, Sunday night, Kalu named Daniel Akwari as the Chairman and Mrs. Mary Ikoku as the Secretary.

Also, a former Speaker of Abia State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Martins Azubuike is to serve as the treasurer while Sam Ifeanyi Hart would serve as the publicity secretary.

Other members of the committee include – former Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, a  member representing Bogoro/Das/ Tafawa Balewa Federal Constituency of Bauchi State in the House of Representatives, Hon. Jaafaru Leko as well the member representing Birnin Kebbi Kalgo Bunza Federal Constituency of Kebbi State, Hon. Ibrahim Mohammed.

Kalu further charged the committee to ensure that accurate demographic data of the affected families was gathered, adding that they also have his mandate to reach out to spirited individuals, corporate organisations and agencies in the society to appeal for their support to the Fund.

He said: “Remembering the widows and family members of our fallen heroes in the security forces will make them proud that their husband’s did not labour in vain and motivate those still serving to give their all on their job.

“Your mandate also extends to communities that have been ravaged by insecurity to provide succour to them and restore their hope. You are the kick-starters of the Project. Your committee will soon be expanded to accommodate other interests and critical stakeholders.

“You are starting from the South East but your mandate will extend beyond the region in due course. Ensure you work with data and remain above board at all times. I have no doubt that with the caliber of people on the Committee, you will meet our expectations”.

Reacting to the killing of the soldiers in Aba, the chairman of the Fund Committee, Akwari described the incident as unfortunate.

His words: “First, let me start by saying that what happened in Aba is one of the most unfortunate incidents. I see people behaving like complete mad people. I wonder what makes human beings to take up arms to go and fight the military.

“You have no right whatsoever to take up arms against anyone, let alone taking up arms against the military. It is unheard of. It’s not part of our culture. The Deputy Speaker’s visit calls for kudos. He has to abandon the activities in Abuja and decide to come and interface with the bereaved families.

“That shows humanity. To sympathize with these women that lost their husbands, I commend him, for bringing all of us. He brought some of the members from the northern part of the country to follow him to go and sympathize with the bereaved family”.

Related Articles