Don’t Make Innocent People Suffer for Sins of Hoodlums, Otti Pleads with Army

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia

As investigations continue to fish out the gunmen behind the May 30 deadly attack that claimed lives of five soldiers at Aba, Governor Alex Otti of Abia State has appealed to the army high command not to punish innocent people.
He made the appeal while on a visit to 144 Battalion Abayi, Osisioma, as part of his efforts to boost the morale of troops following the unfortunate incident in Aba.

Troops in attempts to nab the gunmen behind the attack, had reportedly rounded up several people in Aba, especially at the Obikabia axis in Obingwa Local Government where the soldiers were gruesomely cut down by the yet to be identified hoodlums.
But Otti said that while everything possible would be done to get to the root of the deadly attack on troops, justice demands that those who are innocent should not be made to suffer for what they know nothing about.

“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 (those picked up) 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,” he said.
Otti also appealed to the army high command “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.”

The governor encouraged troops stationed in the state to keep their morale high as the government and people of Abia would continue to stand with them as they perform the tough duty of providing security for the state.
He told the soldiers, including the Brigade  Commander, 14 Brigade Ohafia, Brigadier General O. Diya and the Commanding Officer of 144 Battalion, Major K.P. Duniya, that he came to commiserate with troops and their leaders and assure them of support.

“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,” Otti said.
Otti, who was shocked and taken aback by the attack on troops, has been going round military formations to commiserate with troops. He started with 144 Battalion Asa where he also paid condolences to the widows of the slain soldiers.

He expressed gratitude to the army for their efforts in safeguarding Abia, saying that “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,” he said.

Otti, who is the CSO of the state, was warmly received by the Battalion Commanding Officer with compliments of a guard of honour even before the arrival of the Brigade Commander, who joined later to receive the governor.

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