A statement signed by Army spokesman, Brig. Gen Sani Usman late Thursday in Abuja said the Governor of Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu had in his speech stated that “there will be a gradual withdrawal of soldiers on the streets of Aba and Umuahia from tomorrow”.
He added that the speech by the governor should not be misconstrued as withdrawing of troops earmarked for Exercise EGWU EKE II, adding that the General Officer Commanding 82 Division has not said such thing.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to some stories in the media that it is withdrawing its troops from Exercise EGWU EKE II, crediting such information to Abia State Governor and the General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army. This is not true. The Nigerian Army wishes to enjoin members of the public to disregards such rumours.
“Consequently, we wish to state that Exercise EGWU EKE II is commencing tomorrow as scheduled. Commanders have been instructed to ensure that all hands are on deck to commence the Exercise to its logical completion.
“We wish to state further that the successful completion of the exercise will dovetail into the various states security outfits till the end of this year.
“Members of the public especially in the areas where the exercise will take place are please enjoined to go about their lawful businesses.”
Usman, however, warned any individual or group that would want to use the exercise to jeopardize the conduct of the field training exercise through unlawful or criminal activities, adding that the troops will conduct themselves and abide by the Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct in line with requirements of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Hoodlums and criminal elements are once again warned to be law abiding and not cause any breach of peace.
“We hereby reiterate that our troops would conduct themselves in the best professional manner, abide by the Rules of Engagement and Code of Conduct in line with requirements of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Any act of indiscipline by any of our personnel would be decisively dealt with. While we enjoin all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, the Nigerian Army urge all to support the troops as they carry out their constitutional duties and make Exercise EGWU EKE II a success,” he added.