Metro

May 22, 2024

Attack on soldiers means attack on State — Ex-Defence Chief Irabor backs closure of Abuja plaza 

Reuters reports against army

Lucky Irabor

By Miftaudeen Raji

The former Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor has backed the closure of the Banex plaza in Abuja, saying an attack on soldiers constitutes an attack on the State.

Irabor stated this in an interview with Arise Television on Wednesday.

Recall that the incident that took place in the plaza in the Wuse 2 area of Abuja after a clash happened on Saturday where traders engaged two soldiers in a fight. 

According to eyewitnesses, the soldiers visited the plaza to complain about a phone, which resulted in a heated argument and fight with the traders.

After the incident, many shop owners and traders quickly closed for the day to avoid being caught up in a reprisal attack and on Monday, military personnel arrived in about five Hilux vehicles and reportedly shut down the plaza.  

Reacting to the development, Irabor described the Banex Plaza incident as a very sad one, adding that on no account will it be right to raise a finger on a uniformed man. 

He said, “This applies to any uniformed person for as long as he is an agent of the state. An attack on him is an attack on the state, so any Nigerian of goodwill must condemn such an act.

 

“For me, I join to support the closure of Banex Plaza for as long as it takes to have anyone responsible for that dastardly act brought to justice. This is because if we fail to do so, we will be calling for anarchy. 

“The only men who are sacrificing their lives to ensure our collective good are members of the armed forces, the police, and other security agencies,” he said.

Irabor noted that if not for the policemen and some other private individuals who rescued the soldiers, the situation would have been worse and would have reflected poorly on the nation. 

He appreciated the media’s role in the whole incident but emphasised the need to “put context when setting the agenda for discussion”. 

“The media has created an awareness that in our civics, there are people you must respect. You have to put the context in setting the agenda for this discussion. 

“The populace needs to be re-educated to understand the place of national security and the responsibility of each and every one of us in preserving the sanctity of our various establishments that seek to make us live in a very good environment.” 

Speaking on claims that the army has refused to comment on the situation, he said it is the responsibility of the state to speak on their behalf. 

“Whatever job members of the armed forces do, it is not on their behalf but on behalf of the state, so they are only an agent of the state. They ought not to speak for themselves; the state should speak for them.”  

“It was a mild view, and it would have been harder, not necessarily from the army but from the appropriate agency of government, to be able to speak against such a dastardly act.” 

Irabor called for cooperation from Banex Plaza’s leadership in the ongoing investigation so as to bring out the perpetrators of the crime to book.

He said, “I believe Banex Plaza has leadership because they need to cooperate appropriately so that whatever investigation is ongoing can be concluded, and they must also cooperate by bringing out those who committed that act.”