JONATHAN COMMISSIONS OHAFIA BARRACKS
President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, at the weekend commissioned the Nigerian Army Barracks in Ohafia, Abia State with a call on Nigerians, especially politicians not to engage in acts capable of breaching national peace and security in the ongoing elections in the country.
President Jonathan, while calling on all eligible voters to come out and follow the guidelines as laid out by Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and cast their votes for their preferred candidates in an atmosphere of peace, harmony and mutual respect said re-establishment of a permanent military barracks in Ohafia, Abia State was a testimony of his administration's efforts at maintaining peace and security across the nation.
He said: 'As the 2011 elections commence, I appeal to all Nigerians, especially the political class to ensure that the greater national interest underline their every act. We must never allow contest for political office to degenerate to a level when it becomes a threat to our national peace, security and stability.'
He expressed the hope that the re-opening of the barracks, which was abandoned for over 19 years and attendant permanent military presence in the state would put an end to the high spate of criminal and sundry activities that thrived for the years it was shut down.
The president pointed out that the barracks would serve as headquarters for the newly established 14 Brigade of the Nigerian Army with battalions and sub-units in Akwa Ibom, Ebonyi, Imo and Rivers states, adding that along with other security measures already in place, the re-established Ohafia barracks would ensure general security in Abia and neighbouring states, noting that security was central to sustained growth and development in the zone.He commended the professionalism and competence of officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army Engineers Corps which carried out the rehabilitation work of the barracks through direct labour.
Earlier in his address, the Abia State Governor, Theodore Orji said President Jonathan's approval for the resuscitation of the barrack 'is an indication that Mr. President has a listening ear for the plight of citizens.'
He said the peace currently pervading the state showed that saturated military presence was indispensable to maintaining peace and stability in the society.Also speaking, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant-General Azubuike Onyeabor Ihejirika said the establishment of the barracks in Ohafia became necessary as criminals in the area exploited the non military presence to entrench kidnapping and other related crimes.
Ihejirika noted that the facilities and infrastructure available in the barracks would not only accommodate 14 Brigade troops along with its garrison, but a battalion and other service supporting elements.
He listed other units that would soon come on stream as part of the newly established to include 145 Batallion to be located at Ikot Umoh Essien, Akwa Ibom State, 144 Battalion, Umuma along Aba-Port Harcourt Road in Rivers State while an artillery regiment that would support the brigade during operations had been proposed to be established in Ebonyi State.