Why We Temporarily Shut Down Banex Plaza – Army

By Anne Osemekeh, Abuja

The Nigerian Army has explained why the massive Banex Plaza in Abuja has remained temporarily shut down.

The explanation was contained in a statement issued on Tuesday by the Army spokesman, Maj. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, and titled UPDATE ON THE CLOSURE OF BANEX PLAZA, ABUJA.

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There was pandemonium on Saturday afternoon at the plaza when some traders engaged two soldiers in a fight. Witnesses said the soldiers visited the plaza to complain about a phone, which caused an argument with the traders, and a fight ensued. After the incident, many shop owners and traders quickly closed for the day to avoid being caught up in a reprisal attack.

On Monday, military personnel arrived in about five Hilux vehicles and reportedly shut down the plaza.

In his statement, Nwachukwu noted that the soldiers attacked were unarmed, did not engage in any form of aggression, and posed no threat to anyone. Therefore, the cruel treatment meted out to them was entirely unwarranted and unjustifiable.

Nwachukwu said that following the unfortunate incident, a meeting was convened with the management of Banex Plaza to identify and apprehend the perpetrators of this heinous act by temporarily shutting down activities in the plaza to ensure that the hoodlums who have been using the Banex neighborhood as a sanctuary to pose a security threat to the Federal Capital Territory were apprehended.

“This, is in furtherance of the need for extensive investigation to be conducted at the scene to determine both the immediate and underlying causes of this mayhem. This investigation ultimately aims at ensuring the security of the Federal Capital Territory and to prevent such unwarranted attacks on own personnel and other security operatives, as has been observed in other areas, such as the unfortunate attack in Okuama”, the Army spokesman said.

While assuring that the NA will diligently investigate the circumstances surrounding the presence of the personnel at the plaza and the attack that ensued, Nwachukwu maintained that such acts of violence against personnel are not only condemnable, but could degenerate to a breakdown of law and order, orchestrating threats to national security.

He enjoined members of the public to exercise caution and restraint in dealing with military personnel and other security operatives, especially when they are in uniform, noting that “there are established channels through which grievances or misconduct by personnel could be reported to the appropriate authorities”, and that it is imperative that these channels are utilized to maintain order and respect for those who serve and protect our nation.

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