The Nigerian Army, yesterday, said its personnel fired warning shots to disperse hoodlums who lobbed stones and broken bottles against them during a procession in Umuahia, the Abia State capital.
The Army was countering the account of Nnamdi Kanu, which had said soldiers stormed his residence in the Abia State capital, killing and injuring occupants in a bid to attack the separatist activist.
“The attention of 14 Brigade Nigerian Army has been drawn to fictitious news going round especially on the social media that troops have invaded the home of Nnamdi Kanu and killed three persons.
“This is far from the truth. Rather, it was a group of suspected IPOB militants that blocked the road against troops of 145 Battalion while on show of force along FMC-Word Bank Road in Umuahia town, Abia State at about 6.00-6.30pm, today. They insisted that the military vehicles would not pass and started pelting the soldiers with stones and broken bottles to the point of injuring an innocent female passerby and a soldier, Corporal Kolawole Mathew.
“The troops fired warning shots in the air and the hoodlums dispersed. No life was lost,” the Army said in a statement signed by Oyegoke Gbadamosi, a major and assistant deputy spokesperson of the 14 Brigade.
The Army’s account corroborated police’s statement on the incident.
“There was no attack on the home of Nnamdi Kanu,” Abia Police Commissioner, Leye Oyebade, told online medium Premium Times on the phone Sunday evening.
“What happened was that the military was parading a new armoured carrier and passed through Nnamdi Kanu’s residence.
“It was while they were passing that some people threw stones and other things at them,” Oyebade explained.
The police chief said normalcy has been restored and no life was lost during the minor skirmish. He said Mr. Kanu was neither targeted nor arrested.
But Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor, had painted a different account of what transpired at the home of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, saying there was a siege.
In a statement, Ejiofor accused the Buhari administration of attempting to take his client’s life.
“Just to alert the world that the Nigeria military personnel under the command of Chief of Army Staff is presently laying a siege on my client (Nnamdi Kanu) country home in umuahia.
“They had continued to shot sporadically into the air through which assault, about five of his family members were brutally wounded and some unfortunately killed. There is no doubt that the present deployment of troops to the South East is to haunt for my client and possibly eliminate him,” the statement said.
Ejiofor added that if something goes wrong with his client’s life, the international would hold the country’s president responsible.
The Army urged the public to disregard reports or videos purporting serious injuries or casualties during the skirmish, warning “mischief makers” of grave consequences.