What we are doing to ensure Abia violence doesn’t spread – Nigeria Police chief

Nigerian police force
Nigerian police force used to illustrate the story

The Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, on Thursday briefed Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on the outbreak of violence in some parts of Abia.

After the briefing, Mr. Idris told State House Correspondents that the police was adopting a three-pronged approach to resolve the crisis.

“The strategy we are using is to ensure that we deploy policemen throughout the country.

“Secondly, we are in touch with the government.

“We are trying to mobilise the political leadership to be able to intervene where necessary in how to reduce the tension that is already taking place in the South-east.”

The crisis in Abia escalated on Tuesday after soldiers deployed to the stated confronted supporters of the separatist group, IPOB. Each party has accused the other of causing the violence.

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The violence worsened on Thursday when a police station was burnt down allegedly by IPOB supporters in Aba, the commercial centre of Abia State. Hausas living in the state were also reportedly targeted by the suspected IPOB members who are demanding an independent Igbo country of Biafra.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the police and government officials in northern states like Kaduna and Plateau have since moved to ensure the violence in Abia does not lead to retaliatory attacks in their states.

On the allegation by Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers that the police are behind criminal activities in the state, Mr. Idris said that Mr. Wike was expressing a personal opinion on the security situation in his state.

He, however, said police did not have to deny the governor’s allegation that crimes were perpetrated in the state by its operatives, SARS.

Mr. Idris explained that the display of a corpse purported to be that of the police in a crime scene did not indicate that the said policeman was involved in the crime.

“That a policeman was killed in Rivers in connection with the IPOB issue is different from saying that the policeman was involved in a crime.

“You cannot say that the one attacked and killed is the one involved in the crime,” he stated.

He described the governor’s comment as a sweeping allegation which “does not make sense to me”.

While reacting to the October 1 quit notice given to some Nigerians to leave some parts of the country, the police chief said there was no cause for alarm.

“I don’t think there is tension in the country; there is no tension here,” he said.

The Northern group which gave the October 1 ultimatum for Igbos to leave Northern Nigeria has since withdrawn the ultimatum.

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