Operation Python Dance II: Army keeps mum on Kanu’s whereabouts; Ndigbo can’t afford another civil war – Ohanaeze Ndigbo; Every group like IPOB will be proscribed – Presidency; Northern Elders Back FG’s Proscription Of IPOB; Britain indicts Nigeria over Radio Biafra; South East governors took the right decision by proscribing IPOB – OYC; IPOB urges court to set aside proscription order; IPOB may stop Igbos from producing Nigeria’s president – Rochas; Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB’s activities putting lives of 11.6m Igbos at risk – Abia Gov. Ikpeazu; Army Gives Update On Operation Python Dance II, Speaks On Nnamdi Kanu, IPOB . . .
The Nigerian Army said on Friday it has successfully curtailed the activities of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) in the South East, while clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the region had been prevented by troops in the past two weeks.
Providing an update on Exercise Egwu Eke II (Python Dance II) the army said activities of kidnappers and other criminals have also been checkmated while several people have been arrested and handed over to the police for prosecution.
A statement signed by the Deputy Director of Public Relations, Nigerian Army, Col. Sagir Musa, reassured the public that the army was ready to maintain peace and order in the entire South East.
However, the army was silent on the whereabouts of IPOB leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, who was reported to be on the run after troops laid siege on his compound in Umuahia, Abia state.
The apex Igbo socio-cultural group in Nigeria, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, said the country should not be allowed to undergo another civil war. The President-General of the group, Chief John Nwodo, stated this in Sokoto, when he led leaders of Igbo groups on a courtesy visit to Governor Aminu Tambuwal.
He said the group acknowledged that although, country was in a trying times, the cohesion that existed over the years should be maintained. Nwodo, who noted that the visit was at the instance of the South-East governors and other stakeholders from the South-East geopolitical zone, assured the governor of their cooperation for peaceful coexistence among the ethnic nationalities in the country.
He also commended Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Sa’ad Abubakar, who according to him, portrayed himself as a father in the ongoing ethnic tensions.
The former minister said the Sultan recent statement saying ‘whoever wants to attack the Igbo, should attack him first,’ was worthy of commendation.
“In the same vein, I came with the assurances of the South-East governors that any Igbo who wants to kill a northerner, should first kill them,” Nwodo further said.
The Ndigbo group is expected to visit Kano and Adamawa states in continuation of its peace mission.
South East governors took the right decision by proscribing IPOB – OYC; The Presidency, on Thursday, said every other group that operated like the secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra, would also be proscribed and tag a terrorist organisation. The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said this during a live television programme titled, ‘Sunrise Daily’ on Channels Television. Shehu said IPOB operated like Boko Haram by declaring an independent state and hoisting a foreign flag on Nigerian soil . . .
The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) yesterday threw its weight of support behind federal government’s proscription of the activities of the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB) which was affirmed by the court on Wednesday.
“The NEF welcomes and commends the decision taken by the South-East Governors to denounce the activities of the organization known as Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its proscription in their respective States”, Paul Unongo stated.
Unongo noted that the North which had been a victim of terrorism over the years recognizes the outline of an emerging terrorism now emerging in the South-East and will not sit idly and watch the nation sink into chaos under new and additional threats.
He said, “It is in this regard that we strongly support the Federal Government official proclamation, proscribing IPOB and its activities throughout the territory of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“The North recognises and acknowledges that there are demanding and legitimate questions on the current operations of the Nigerian State. The North has very clear ideas on all issues and positions that the nation sees as challenges and is willing to dialogue on all of them.
“What the North will not allow, however, is to be stampeded into adopting an agenda and grand designs from other parts of Nigeria which will hurt its basic interests”.
He continued: “The North will demand a respectful and responsible approach to its participation in the search for answers to the many questions confronting our country.
The British government has blamed Nigeria for the continued operation of the ‘pirate’ Radio Biafra which the separatist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) uses to preach hate against Nigeria. The radio station domiciled in the United Kingdom was established by the Movement for the Actualisation of the Soverign State of Biafra (MASSOB) with Mazi Nnamdi Kanu as Director.
Kanu, also a British citizen, operated the radio on behalf of MASSOB and later hijacked the radio station as a megaphone of IPOB.
The British government is not happy with reports credited to Nigeria’s information and culture minister Lai Mohammed, who insinuated that the UK had not shut down the radio station.
In a terse statement released on Thursday by Mr. Joe Abuku, Press and Public Affairs Officer, British High Commission in Nigeria, said the “The UK is not aware of any representation from Nigerian government about Radio Biafra.’’
“Were we to receive any such request, we would, of course, consider it carefully on the basis of the available evidence, recognising that freedom of speech and expression carries responsibilities.’’
Lai Mohammed had faulting the UK for not doing something to stop Radio Biafra from airing from its soil. As the Minister pointed out, Radio Biafra was probably not taken down by the UK authorities because the radio station is a free channel of communication available to any law-abiding person – just like the internet and social media; anyone who has the license to operate a radio can always air whatever they want to.
The youth wing of the Igbo socio-political organization, Ohanaeze Youth Council (OYC), has said Governors of the South East took the right decision by proscribing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), under the leadership of Nnamdi Kanu.
OYC said the decision of the governors to proscribe IPOB averted loss of lives and breakdown of law and order and avoided a declaration of state of emergency in the region. it was in support of any action taken to address the “age-long marginalization of Ndigbo in Nigeria” as long as it won’t lead to loss of lives.
In a statement issued on Friday, signed by OYC’s National President, Mazi Okechukwu Isiguzoro, Deputy National President, Dr Arthur Obiora, Secretary General, Mazi Okwu Nnabuike, Dr. Kingsley Dozie and Barrister Dikeadi John, OYC stated:
“The decision of the governors was the need of the moment, to avoid a declaration of state of emergency in the South-East. We are saddened by the level of confrontation between the Nigerian Army and the Biafra agitators and the consequent death of many Igbo youths in the process.
We are also sad over the reported death of a policeman during this unfortunate but avoidable incident. We are equally aware that the South-East Governors were also in discussion with the agitators before the military launched its action.
However, considering the level of destruction and ruins that could have erupted, we applaud the South-East governors for rising to the occasion. It was indeed the need of the moment. We cannot afford to continue to lose the life of our people, in addition to over three million killed during the Civil war.”
The proscribed IPOB on Friday asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to set aside the injunction proscribing the activities of IPOB. Ifeanyi Ejiofor and his team filed the process in suit no. FHC/ABJ/CS/871/17, pursuant to Section 6(6) (1) (4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended. The office of the Attorney-General of the Federation was listed as respondent. The applicant averred that the grounds upon which the application was brought hinged on the fact that the Sept.20 exparte order made against it by the court was without jurisdiction. The lead counsel said the order granted against the entity was unknown to law.
Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has stated that the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) will affect the chances of Igbos to produce Nigeria’s president. Roaches told newsmen on Thursday that:
“There are better ways; the IPOB way is too primitive. If IPOB must do a thing like that it should have changed the name and fought the way Ijaw youths fought, Arewa youths fought, and they would have made more impact. For everything that comes from the Igbo man, we love to go to the extreme. Now you want to separate yourself from Nigeria, meanwhile, South-South will not go with you, Edo, Rivers will not go with you. If you cut us off here now as South east, if I need to go to Rivers State, I will go and ask for passport and visa, and we are keeping quiet to say this. If there is a crisis now, there is no Hausa man in Igbo land who has a duplex, there is no Yoruba man who has a room and parlour or a N20 million investment in Igbo land, but Igbo have trillions of naira virtually everywhere.The same people are asking for secession. If Igbo are asked to go, what happens? They would lose their property, and all of us are keeping quiet, supporting IPOB! It was very childish, and those behind this should stop, that is my advice . . .”
The Abia State Governor, Okezie Ikpeazu has declared that the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB), under the leadership of Nnamdi Kanu has put the lives of 11.6million Igbos residing outside the South East at risk. Ikpeazu made the remark while reacting to the deployment of soldiers to the South East.
Addressing State House Correspondents at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, the governor assured that Igbos were free to go about their businesses in any part of the country.
According to the governor:
“First and foremost, I think based on our relationship with our brothers from northern Nigeria, represented by the governors, we have been assured that every part of Nigeria is safe for every Nigerian including Igbos to continue their businesses and enterprises. I want to announce that the population of Igbos outside Ibo enclave is about 11.6 million. You don’t play with such a large number of lives. So, we all have to be careful, the press, the leadership at the state level, the leadership at the federal government level, everybody. I think we should be guided by the rule of law and grow confidence in the Nigerian citizen that under our laws, he is protected.”
Nigerian Army on Friday gave a detailed update on its Operation Python Dance in the Southeast. In a statement on Friday by Colonel Sagir Musa, Deputy Director Public Relations 82 Division, the Army stated:
“Following the commencement of Exercise EGWU EKE II on Friday 15th September 2017 in 82 Division Area of Responsibility, simultaneous activities have started in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Cross River States without hitch. The essence of the exercise is to enhance troops’ preparedness and proficiency in dealing with emerging security challenges peculiar to the South-Eastern Region, such as kidnappings, armed robbery, communal crisis, farmers- herdsmen clashes, cultism, violent agitations and insurgency, amongst others.
One interesting aspect of the exercise is that, it is multi agency in nature and execution, thus enhancing synergy of efforts among the Services, Security and response agencies. Relevant para-military organizations such as the Nigerian Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corp, Department of State Security Service, Federal Road Safety Commission, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency and Nigerian Immigration Service are all synergizing and collaborating in the exercise to ensure attainment of these objectives.
Similarly, there are elaborate humanitarian activities associated with it, hence, the 82 Division Nigerian Army embarked on free medical services. The first was on Tuesday 18 th September 2017 at the Adult Education Mass Literacy Centre, Nkwuagu Primary School Amaagu, Abakaliki Local Government Area (LGA ) of Ebonyi State.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai, accompanied by the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe, the General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Adamu Baba Abubakar and the Chief of Training and Operations Army Headquarters, Major General David Ahmadu and other senior Army Officers, were personally present at the commencement of the free medical outreach.
The turnout was impressive, as over 2,000 people benefited in the areas of dental, optometry, laboratory services and blood pressure measurements. Others were dispensing of eye glasses, de-worming tablets, assorted drugs, mosquito nets and sanitizer to various categories of people.
In the same vein, similar medical outreach will be conducted at Nnarambia community Central Primary School, Ahiara Mbaise in Ahiazu Mbaise LGA of Imo State on 23rd September 2017 as part of the activities of Exercise EGWU EKE II. The Division has also scheduled similar free medical outreaches in other states covering its area of responsibility during the exercise.
Furthermore, in addition to visiting the Operational Headquarters of Sector 5 of Exercise EGWU EKE II, at 24 Support Engineering Regiment, Abakaliki, the Chief of Army Staff also visited the Step-Up Headquarters of 82 Division at the Nigerian Army Language Institute, Ovim, in Isiuokwuato LGA of Abia State.
So far, the troops have been carrying out routine activities associated with the exercise seamlessly along with other supporting Services and agencies. Some suspected criminals were arrested, farmers-herdsmen as well as communal clashes have been averted. Similarly, kidnappers, cultists, armed robbers and other criminal elements have been denied freedom of action through patrols, raids and manning of checkpoints as follows:
Following credible intelligence report and some distress calls from Ukpata community in Uzo-Wani LGA of Enugu State of a planned attack on the community by Fulani herdsmen on the 19th September 2017, a patrol team of Sector 3 was deployed in the area from 17th September 2017 to date. Through that we were able to prevent serious clash between the Fulani herdsmen and the community.
Similarly, at about 4.30pm on 17th September 2017, troops of Sector 2 on patrol at Ohaji-Egbema general area, along Obokofia-Agwa, Rombe-Oguta road junction in Imo State, intercepted 2 persons in a vehicle conveying about 15kg of a substance suspected to be Indian hemp. The suspects and the substance have been handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
Also troops of Sector 2, Sub Sector 1, at about 12.00am 19th September 2017, while on patrol along Onitsha-Owerri road arrested 3 suspected hoodlums; Chisom Francis, Chukwu Enema and Uchenna Ogataku that barricaded the highway, extorting money and other valuables from hapless motorists resulting in serious traffic jam. The suspects have been handed over to Ogbaku Police Station.
Following a tip off, a criminal hideout was raided at about 12.15am in Obinze community general area on 17th September 2017. Consequently, 17 suspected criminals were apprehended by troops of Sector 4. Items recovered include 3 x locally made pistols, 5 Dane guns and 15 rounds of various calibers of ammunition. Other items recovered were local charms and 7 wraps of substance suspected to be Indian hemp.
Furthermore, at about 1.30am on 17th September 2017, troops of Sector 4 in conjunction with the Nigeria Police raided a criminal den at Ukukwa North Local Government Area of Anambra State, where they arrested 7 suspected criminals. Items recovered are; 4 x locally made pistols, 420 live cartridges, about 50kg of Cannabis and some Charms. The suspects and the items were handed over to the Nigeria Police.
Similarly, based on intelligence, troops of Sector 2, at about 12.00am hours on 18th September 2017, conducted 2 raid operations on suspected cultists’ shrines at Awara and Assa communities of Ohaji-Egbema LGA of Imo State. The raids resulted in the arrest of 10 suspected cult members. They were however, transferred to the Nigeria Police after preliminary investigation.
In addition, at about 2.30am on 19th September 2017, troops of Sector 1, raided a notorious kidnappers’ den at Ohanze community in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State. The operation led to the release of a kidnap victim, Mr. Monday Benson and the arrest of 3 suspected kidnappers; Arinze Ugiri aged 39 years, from Amouvuro community, Okezie Nwobolo, aged 30 years, from Amouvuro Nteuzor community and Michael Sunday 24 years old, from Okeyan Nteuzor village of Abia State. Suspects have also been handed over to the Nigeria Police after initial questioning.
CHECKMATING VIOLENT ACTIVITIES OF THE BANNED INDIGENIOUS PEOPLE OF BIAFRA
Despite the initial opposition to Exercise EGWU EKE II by the outlawed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra members and their sympathizers and unpatriotic elements, the general area of the South East especially Aba in Abia State is now fully stabilized. The usual violent activities of the outlawed Biafra “National Guards” (manning check points and extorting money from traders and motorists) have now been checkmated. Similarly, the outlawed Biafra terrorists group presence is no longer visible and people go about their normal businesses without fear, let or hindrance.
The 82 Division Nigerian Army wishes to reassure the public that it is poised to maintaining the peace and security in the entire South-Eastern Region. Members of the public are please requested to cooperate with security agencies by remaining law abiding and passing credible information to the nearest security check point or call 193 and the various Sector Commanders’ telephone numbers that were earlier made public.”