Army Commences Military Operation in South East to Curtail Threats to National Security

0

By Paul Obi in Abuja

In a move perceived as a strategy to tackle separatists’ agitations in the South East geo-political zone headlong, the Nigerian Army said it will next week commence military operation in the five Igbo land states to curtail agitations and other national security threats.  

Tension and agitations spearheaded  by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) led by separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu have continued unabated in the zone, where the call for Biafra Republic has gained some level of  acceptance and momentum following perceived marginalisation by the present administration. 

To this end, military hardware and sophisticated weaponry were shifted to the South East early this week, in what appears to be preparations to confront Kanu led IPOB and other agitators.  

But speaking to journalists in Abuja, Army Chief of Training and Operations, Major General David Ahmadu explained that the operation was in continuation of previous military exercise in the zone, geared towards national security and provision of security in the region. 

 He stated that the operation code named “Exercise Egwu Eke II, (Python Dance II) was to be conducted in 82 Division Area of Responsibility, covering Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo states. The exercise is scheduled to take place from Friday 15 September to Saturday 14 October 2017. 

 “As you are all aware, a similar Exercise nicknamed Egwu Eke I, (Python Dance I) was conducted from 27 Nov – 27 Dec 16 within the five South Eastern States of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo.” 

Ahmadu contended that “the objective was to effectively contain the reported cases of kidnapping and other vices prevalent in the South East region every Yuletide season.  

“The effect of the exercise yielded tremendous results as law abiding citizens in the area celebrated the Christmas festivities of 2016 in safer environment than what it used to be.” 

“Building on this achievement, Exercise Egwu Eke II has become more expedient due to the mindless assassinations (even in religious places), attacks on security personnel and theft of weapons, kidnappings, armed banditry and violent agitations by secessionist groups, amongst other crimes that have recently bedeviled the region.

 “The need for troops to be exercised, refreshed and imbibe the requisite skills to cope with these emerging security challenges within the 82 Division Area of Responsibility in aid of civil authority necessitates this exercise.  

“Furthermore, in actualising the COAS vision, of having a Professionally Responsive NA in the Discharge of its Constitutional Roles, Exercise Egwu Eke II becomes highly desirable in conjunction with Sister Services and other security agencies to ensure success.” 

Ahmadu stressed that “during the exercise, emphasis will be placed on raids, cordon and search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, road blocks, check points, patrols, humanitarian relief activities such as medical outreach and show of force to curb the rising threat to national security in the South Eastern part of the country.  

 “It is pertinent to mention that the security, safety and well-being of innocent and law abiding citizens of the states mentioned above have been adequately factored into the planning of the exercise.  

“Thus, the rights of individuals as enshrined in the constitution would be respected and safeguarded”  

To fortify military establishment against possible threats, Ahmadu told journalists that the exercise would expand the Nigerian Army reach within the South East zone.  

He said: “Additionally, Exercise Egwu Eke II is also conceptualised to transit into real time operations thereby fulfilling both training and operational objectives of sharpening operational skills of personnel as well as providing an avenue to conduct operations against violent criminals and agitators when called upon. 

 “As precursor to a peaceful ‘ember’ period and yuletide, provision has already been made for the smooth conduct of the exercise.”

 He maintained that “Exercise Egwu Eke II will be unique with the establishment of Brigade Headquarters in each of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo States. 

 

“It is noteworthy to mention that Exercise Egwu Eke II is set to be another epoch making activity 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 in particular, and the entire nation in general.  

 

“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 are 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 telephone numbers of all Brigade Commanders public in addition to the Nigerian Army short code Information and Call Centre 193,” Ahmadu stated.