The Abia State House of Assembly has denied involvement of the state in the interception and arrests of the 486 suspected Boko Haram insurgents by soldiers in the state, while reportedly on transit to Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
This Assembly’s reaction against the backdrop of the legal threat recently reported in the media by the Jigawa State House of Assembly on the Abia State Government, alleging that the state had a hand in the controversial arrests of the suspected militants currently undergoing military screening.
Deputy Speaker of the House, Allwell Asiforo, in company of other committee members, yesterday at a briefing, said: “There is a national issue that happened within the state about two weeks ago, which the House wants to make its position known to the public.
“It is about the 486 Boko Haram insurgents intercepted and arrested by soldiers on their way to Port Harcourt, Rivers State,” he stated.
The deputy speaker, who is also the Chairman, House Committee on Information, said that the Abia State Government did not know anything concerning the said arrest, “and would not have had any hand in the matter as it was purely a military operation, given the nebulous security situation prevailing in the country.”
His words: “We want to say as a state that we are not aware of the whole military exercise concerning security, intelligence gathering and discrete operations.
“We are, however, drawn by the comments credited to some northern elements and particularly from our colleagues in the Jigawa State legislature, as reported in the media, threatening to sue our state for what we did not even know and not involved in,” he said.
The lawmakers said that the suspects, who were being screened by the army in the state, were neither arrested nor detained by the state government.
They urged the Jigawa State Government and citizens “to desist from making inflammatory statements capable of triggering off undue violence.”
Fielding questions from journalists, Asiforo said Jigawa legislators should ‘dispassionately ascertain’ who should be sued in the circumstance of the military arrest, in response to threatening security challenges nationwide, “as any indiscriminate litigation would merely amount to a thrilling academic exercise.”
In another development, the Assembly has cleared the transition committee chairmen nominees for the 17 local government council areas of the state and two commissioner-nominees now awaiting their inauguration.