The tension in Abia State since the commencement of military action by the Nigerian Army is gradually getting out of proportion and extending to deeper obstruction of freedom of expression and free media in the South east.
The Nigerian Army, however, refuted reports of any interference with media practice in Abia State.
The Army in a statement indicated that the attention of 14 Brigade Nigerian Army, has been drawn to social media publications alleging that troops on patrol in Umuahia town invaded the NUJ Press Centre in Umuahia at about 10.00am on Tuesday.
The Army, however, admitted that “while it was true there was an issue between some soldiers on routine patrol, the magnitude is not as was reported;” explaining that, “what happened was that while the soldiers on patrol near the Abia State NUJ Secretariat, they noticed some people filming them.
“Unfortunately, they seized and damaged their recording devices; an iPad and 2 mobile phones.”
The Army admitted that preliminary investigation showed that the items belong to journalists on their legitimate duties.
“Consequently, the Commander 14 Brigade and Deputy Director Army Public Relations 82 Division waded into the matter which has since been resolved amicably,” the Army declared.
The Nigerian Army promised that the soldiers involved will face disciplinary action.
The Army appealed: “the public are please requested to eschew rumour mongering and go about their lawful business.”
The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Abia State had earlier condemned the military invasion of South East states under Operation Python Dance II.