IPOB leader is not the target of Python Dance
operation – Army
– The Nigerian army says Operation Python Dance 2 will fully take off on September 15 and end on October 14, 2017
– The deputy director, public relations, 82 Division, Colonel Sagir Musa, says heavy military presence will be felt in some major cities during the operation
– Musa states that the essence of the exercise is to ensure peace, security, unity and development of Nigeria
The Nigerian army in Enugu has said that the military exercise in the south-east, code-named Operation Python Dance 2 is not targeted at the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.
Colonel Sagir Musa, the deputy director, public relations, 82 Division, on Tuesday, September 12, said this when he briefed newsmen at the NUJ Secretariat, Umuahia, on the activities of troops deployed in Abia for the exercise.
Musa, dismissed speculations that the military was laying siege on Kanu, saying that the exercise “is not targetted at the leader of IPOB’’ or anybody or group, The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
“The exercise is not targeted at any individual or group but meant to prevent security challenges identified in the South-East and parts of Cross River.
“It is not meant to molest or victimise anybody,” Musa said, adding that the exercise was designed to maintain peace and security in the five states of the south-east and parts of Cross River.
He said that the main objective was to stem the tide of kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism and violent agitations in the areas involved.
According to him, the essence of the exercise is to ensure peace, security, unity and development of Nigeria.
The army spokesman said that the exercise, slated to fully take off on September 15 and end on October 14, would be conducted simultaneously in the affected states.
He said that during the period, heavy presence of military troops would be felt in major cities and towns of the states involved.
He said that the exercise would be characterised mainly by ‘show of force’, patrols and other military activities.
Musa also said that he was at the NUJ secretariat to convey unreserved apologies from the 82 Div. of the Nigerian Army and the GOC, Maj Gen Adamu Abubakar, to journalists in the state over Tuesday’s invasion of the union secretariat and assault on some journalists by some military personnel.
He said that those involved in the ugly development acted outside the rule of engagement and not in conformity with the rules and regulations governing the military.
He said that the army detested such excesses and gross indiscipline among its rank and file.
The spokesman urged journalists in the state to endeavour to put the incident behind them and not to allow it to destroy the long standing relationship existing between the two organisations.
He assured the union that such an unhealthy incident would not repeat itself, adding that the perpetrators would be fished out and appropriate sanctions meted out to them.
In a brief remark, the National Trustee of NUJ, Bonny Okoro, who represented the state Chairman of the union, Mr John Emejor, urged the army authorities to check the excesses of its men deployed for the operation in the state.
Okoro, who was manhandled and also had his Samsung tablet destroyed by the operatives that invaded the secretariat, described the attack on journalists as unwarranted.
He said it was regrettable that journalists, who render selfless service to the nation, could be attacked by soldiers.
Meanwhile, some members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) have traveled to the home of their leader Nnamdi Kanu to confront soldiers of the Nigerian military.
This move by the IPOB members follows a recent siege laid by the troops of the Nigerian military in Afara Ukwu, the hometown of the IPOB leader.
The group members were seen in thousands heading to Kanu’s home.
Some of these IPOB members were driven in ‘tipper’ vehicles and buses as military Armoured Personnel Tanks were parked in the area.