Kalu Visits Military in Aba, Says No Justification for Killing of Soldiers, Urges Protection of Innocent Residents


Miffed by the brutal murder of 3 soldiers in Aba, Abia State recently, the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Okezie Kalu on Sunday paid a condolence visit to the 144 Infantry Battalion Headquarters in Asa, Ukwa West Local Government Area of the State where he declared that there was no justification for the mindless killing of military personnel on duty by yet-to-be identified gunmen.


The deputy speaker who was accompanied to the visit by some members of the House as well as the members of Peace In South East Project (PISE-P) condemned the act, backing the directives of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous crime and bring them to justice.


Commending the military for maintaining peace in the region through a non kinetic means, Kalu however regretted the recent move by some criminal elements to scuttle the gains so far recorded.


He appealed to the military to be soft on the people while combing the city and its envious, pleading with them not to allow the innocent suffer unduly.


He said: “In a time when we are trying to see how to encourage the soldiers who we believe need more for the sacrifice they make for this nation, the police, they need more, all the security agencies, they need more; at a time when we in parliament are struggling to see how we can better their lives, people are carrying guns. What a pain. Whatever made them to do this, it’s a painful thing for this country. That is why all of us are rising boldly to condemn it, to condemn this act in it’s entirety.


“It has no justification especially when we have been begging with our Peace in South East Project. Since December 29, 2023, we’ve been pleading that we should no longer use kinetic ways to settle conflicts. We’ve been begging the security agencies. Enough of shooting, and they have respected our call. Even the chief of army staff has gone around preaching non kinetic means to settling our conflicts. He has been going around. I watch him. And he has been selling this to the rank of fire, saying, everything cannot be solved through gun. We can negotiate, we can talk, we can apply other skills. Not because they are weak, but because by their training, they are trying to employ a better approach to spill less blood.


“If you allow the military to be angry in this state, none of us will be safe. If they get angry and say they want to retaliate, we will not be safe in this Abia state. And that is why we are still begging that that non kinetic approach is still what will work.


“Let us not be provoked by those we kept our gun to save their lives. They are now picking up the gun to shoot us. They have shot Nigeria. They shot the parliament when they shot their husbands. They shot the deputy speaker when they shot their husband. They shot the rest of us.


“We want to urge the military, to please continue using your non kinetic means. Do not because of this provocation, go on rampage. But if there is any step to be taken to find those people, please do it. Do all you can because I know you can.

I know your military intelligence skills. I know the security agencies in this country can come together if not for anything, but this one. Find us those who did this and let it be made public.


“Those people are not even supposed to be punished privately or in secret. They should be punished publicly so that others will learn from it. We say no to the spilling of blood.


“But the people who committed this, you’ll be doing us a disservice, the security agencies will be doing us a disservice if they are not found. If they are not found, it will encourage others to do more.


“Let the military, the Navy, the Air Force, the Police, the DSS, all of you should come together, find these people who did it. I’m happy Mr. President stood up and spoke firmly against this because he is a lover of peace.


“Mr. President attended my peace in Southeast initiative launching by sending the vice president to be Bende for us to flag off this peace initiative. To hear again that the same state where he went to flag of peace initiative that is based on non kinetic is the same they they came to cause havoc, will not make any leader happy.


“We are standing by all that Mr. President said that you have to find those who did this but in doing so, may the innocent not suffer”.


Kalu who represents Bende Federal Constituency of the State said he was pained by the sad development and could have endured staying back in Abuja when his home State was going through a difficult time.


“As the deputy speaker, I will not sit in Abuja very comfortable knowing that a uniformed man has been gone down in my state, men on duty to save us have been gunned down, I cannot sit comfortably in Abuja. That was why I came to partner with you and to support this women.


“I came with this array of people from all parts of Nigeria, 31 of us from Abuja. That will tell you how much we value you and the work you do and how much we value these people that we lost and the women who are here. We came in solidarity to say, we are standing with the military, we are standing with the soldiers, and we are happy with the work we are doing. And we are standing with this family and we are encouraging you.


“Let your strength show in this peace while you investigate. Let your strength show in not punishing the innocent. You have all it takes to grab every community, everywhere. But let not be innocent be punished. We will keep preaching peace. We will keep holding your hand. And we ask you to keep holding our hands to make sure that the place remains peaceful.


“There is fear in the land because the military has been provoked. And that’s the truth. And we cannot keep quiet ase stakeholders”, he said.


Pledging the commitment of the Parliament towards enacting laws to improve the welfare of the security personnel, Kalu announced the setting up of a Fund to cater for the families of fallen security operatives across the South East region.


The Deputy Speaker in conjunction with PISE-P made a donation of N10 million to assist the wives of the slain soldiers.


“You are not alone. Weep no more. I know it is difficult but we are standing with you. That was why we decided to show you the first sign of love. We didn’t come empty handed. We said since the governor came here and gave you scholarship, we are going to open an account, a fund for all lovers of the work people are doing, the military is doing in this state to support for the welfare of those who have lost their lives in the course of their duty.


“But in launching that fund, we are starting with 10 million. We are giving you today the sum of 10 million naira. This is the sum of 10 million naira. We want at least each of them to get 2 million to start a business on the side, not for school fees since the governor has taken care of school fees. This is coming from Peace In South East Project and the office of the deputy speaker and on top of that, we are opening accounts for all well meaning southeastern people or any part of Nigeria who loves what the soldiers are doing to drop in their contributions. We will bring it and come and give to them so that they will not lack. This is our way of saying we appreciate the work you are doing and please accept our condolences”, he said.


He beckoned on well spirited Nigerians to contribute to the Fund to assist the families the deceased.


In his response, the Brigade Commander of the 114 Battalion, Brigadier O. O Diya who received the deputy speaker said efforts are already ongoing to apprehend the killers.


“We can assure you, sir, that those that committed this, we will look for them.

We will find them and we will smoke them out wherever they are.


“Efforts are already in place to ensure that we find them and make them pay for what they have done for making these women and her son go through this pain, this irreparable pain. It’s very unfortunate.


“And I can assure you that Abia State will regain that prominence that it has being the safest state in southeast. Please, just relax. Justice will be done and we will ensure that justice is seen and this act will never ever repeat itself again”.


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