The Commander, 14 Brigade, Nigeria Army, Ohafia, Brigadier General Abdul Kalifah Ibrahim has apologised to journalists in Nigeria for the military invasion of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre, Umuahia.
The Army Chief, who visited the Press Centre in company of the Naval Commander, School of Finance and Logistics Owerrinta, Capt Abdulahi Aminu condemned the attack, describing it as a disaster of unimaginable proportion.
Ibrahim promised to fish out the soldiers who carried out the unauthorised operation with a view to sanctioning them and called on journalists not to allow the invasion of their office to cause any bad blood between the army and them.
He also promised to pay for the cell phone belonging to one of the journalists which went missing after the attack and warned soldiers to respect the rights of civilians during the operation python dance.
After his visit, the deputy Director of Information, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Enugu, Col Musa Sagay, also came calling on behalf of the General Officer Commanding the Division, Major Gen Adamu Abubakar and condemned the action of the soldiers.
Col Sagay said immediately his boss heard what happened, he was detailed to go to Umuahia to meet with journalists and appeal to them for calm as the Army was on top of the situation.
“It is regrettable that this ugly incident happened to a group of people I have known and worked with since 2010-2011 when kidnapping was at its peak in the state and I would not want that cordial relationship to be destroyed.
“I am in Umuahia on behalf of my boss Gen Abubakar who is the commander of 82 Div Enugu to express our concern over what happened on Tuesday which is not the normal way we operate.
“I want to assure you that all those who took part in the action against journalists will be fished out and dealt with accordingly. The Operation Egwu Eke (Python Dance) will commence from 15th of September to 14th of October and the exercise is not targeted at any group.
“The exercise is targeted at all security flash points in the entire South East geopolitical zone which is the reason behind the army show of force but it is targeted at kidnappings, armed robbery, cultism, insurgency and secession agitators,” Sagay stated.
Col Sagay insisted that there was no military siege at the home of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu as being reported in some sections of the media, adding that the issue of insurgency starts in a small way which the soldiers will not allow.