… Nigerian Army to begin ‘Operation Python Dance II’
A pro-democracy group, the Society for Good Governance (SGG) has described the so called planned military exercise tagged “Operation Python II” otherwise known as “Operation Egwueke” in Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra and Imo States as a military invasion of the South East geo-political zone which is presently under a democratic dispensation.
A statement issued by the organisation and signed by its Deputy National Cordinator, Ude Mbaka, said the planned exercise was not just a planned intimidation of the people of the South East zone but a military invasion.
The Nigerian Army, Friday, said it would commence its second phase of Exercise Python Dance, tagged Python Dance II, otherwise known as Egwu Eke II, in the South Eastern part of Nigeria, comprising states such as Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, from Friday 15 September to Saturday 14 October 2017.
“The so called operation Python Dance II is another design of the President Buhari Administration to continue his policy of needlessly attempting to subjugate the South East zone by every means possible. Since he stated that the South East gave him 5 per cent vote in the 2015 elections, he has not hidden his intention to make life uncomfortable for South Easterners including denying them appointments, banning import items and other businesses where Igbo businesses thrive.
“As documented by Amnesty International, hundreds of Igbo youths peacefully protesting the marginalisation of the zone have been decimated by the Nigerian Army since the coming of this administration. There have been a gradual build up of military presence in the South East including establishment of new Airforce bases among other increased military presence designed purely to intimidate.
“Why are these operations Python, Lion and Elephants only taking place in the South East and South South geo-political zones the 5 per centers? Why are these operations not taking place in the North West”?, the group queried.
“We expect this government to eradicate terrorist activities in the North East and explain to Nigerians why killer Fulani herdsmen who have killed thousands of innocent children, women and young Nigerians have not been brought to book including those giving Igbos quit notice.
“The resistance of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by Nnamdi Kanu is the result of criminal maginalisation of the zone, injustice and inequitable distribution of resources in Nigeria which has led to a louder cry for a restructuring of the Nigerian state as depicted by Yoruba leaders in Ibadan 24 hours earlier.
The group advised the military authorities to channel efforts at halting resurgent Boko Haram terrorists bombing the North East and the menace of fulani herdsmen all over the country.
“Political and military power have never defeated the human spirit. The case and fate of Adolph Hitler will remain an eternal example for Nigeria’s system manipulators”, the statement read.
Meanwhile, the army said the Exercise Python Dance II “is conceptualised to transit into real time operations…against violent criminals and agitators when called upon.”
A statement signed on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai, by the Army Chief of Training and Operations, said the conduct of the exercise Python Dance II in the South East states has become even more expedient due to the “mindless assassinations (even in religious places), attack on security personnel, theft of weapons, armed banditry, kidnapping, cultism and violent agitations, as well as other security challenges that have recently become prevalent in the South Eastern part of the country.”
It said, during the exercise, emphasis will be placed on raids, cordon and search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, road blocks, check points and show of force, as well as humanitarian activities such as medical outreach. It also said that the “Operation EGWU EKE II is set to be another epoch making exercise that would make the nation proud of the Nigerian Army’s determination at sustaining its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the nation as well as its commitment to aid the civil authority to bring about peace and security in the south eastern part of our dear country.”
It said, “In this regard, members of the public especially the residents of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States are enjoined not to panic as their safety and well-being is guaranteed at all times. The general public is requested to remain vigilant and be security conscious, as suspected criminals may be fleeing from military operations in these areas and finding safe haven amidst our communities.
“The public is also reminded to report any suspicious activity or movement to the nearest military formation or other security agencies for prompt action. In order to ensure cordial civil-military relations, we shall make contact phone numbers of all Brigade Commanders public in addition to the Nigerian Army short code Information and Call Centre 193.”