13th February, 2015
The Imo Government said it had petitioned the Presidency, Army Headquarters, National Security Adviser (NSA) and some human right groups “over the invasion of its Government House by soldiers on Tuesday, Feb. 10.”
This was contained in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to Gov. Rochas Okorocha on Media, Mr Sam Onwuemeodo in Owerri on Thursday.
The statement said the aim of the petition was for them to investigate the reasons for barricading its main entrance with armoured vehicles.
“Imo believes the soldiers will not have left the barracks with armoured vehicles without somebody ordering them to do so and without the person having his or her reason for doing so.
“Government is concerned with the development because there was no problem of any kind in any part of the state on that day or before it.
“There was no riot. There was no crisis. There was no clash. Then why did the army come? These are questions we will like the authorities we have petitioned, to unveil,” it said.
The statement said some workers in the government house were seriously wounded while running for safety.
It alleged that the soldiers beat up two young men they met at the gate to a state of coma and demanded the reason for the action.
When contacted, the Brigade Commander, 34 Field Artillery Brigade, Nigerian Army, Obinze, Brig. Lanre Bello said the presence of soldiers around the gate of government house was for the protection of lives and property of citizens of the state.
He said it was not to unleash attack on any citizens as alleged by the State Government.
“The army received distress calls that innocent widows on peaceful protest were being attacked and quickly moved to the scene to stop the attack and disperse the crowd.
“If such steps were not taken, the situation would have been turned to a wide blown crisis in the city.
“Nobody was attacked by any soldier during the period they were there as other security agencies such as the police and SSS were equally present at the scene,” he said.