The Abia Police Commissioner, Mr Bala Hassan, is to lead a 2500-strong contingent to provide security in Aba during the lying-in-state of the late Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu, on Tuesday.
The command’s spokesman, Mr Geoffrey Ogbonnaya, said on Monday in a telephone interview with newsmen in Umuahia, that the commissioner had already relocated to Aba.
Ogbonnaya explained that the commissioner’s relocation was to effectively supervise preparations and ensure that “all the vulnerable points are adequately covered.
“The commissioner is leading the team of officers and men for the special assignment,” he said, adding that “he is already in Aba to see things for himself”.
He gave the assurance that “there is no cause for alarm,” noting that adequate preparations had been made by the command to ensure a hitch-free ceremony.
According to him, “a large number of officers and men of the command will be involved to provide adequate security and ensure effective crowd control during the event”.
Ogbonnaya explained that the new arrangement to fly Ojukwu’s remains to the Enyimba Stadium, venue of the ceremony, as against the initial plan to convey it by road, “will make our job easier”.
He said the command did not envisage any untoward acts by Aba residents, saying that “we are hopeful that the ceremony will be peaceful.
“It was his wish that his corpse be taken to Aba, the Enyimba city, and the people are in high spirits to receive him so we do not expect that there will be any trouble,” Ogbonnaya said.
Meanwhile, Gov. Theodore Orji, while briefing newsmen on Sunday in Umuahia on the government's readiness for the ceremony, announced Tuesday as a work-free day in the state to enable workers to pay their last respect to the late Biafran warlord.
Orji also announced that markets in Umuahia, the capital city, and Aba, the economic hub of the state, would remain closed as a mark of respect for the former Governor of the defunct Eastern Region.?