Dissecting aftermath of Operation Python Dance II in Southeast
When the Nigerian Army announced plan to commence Operation Python Dance I in the Southeast in the later part of last year to purportedly check criminality and other crimes, not many people raised eyebrows or wagged their tongues that much.
People only complained about the proliferation of military checkpoints on major roads in the region, particularly from Asaba, the Delta State capital, which borders Onitsha, the commercial nerve centre of Anambra State through the bridge linking the eastern part of the country.
The exercise, as organised and concluded by the Army, was very forceful in Onitsha, Awka, Enugu, Owerri and other major cities, causing serious traffic gridlock to road users across the region, especially during the Christmas season.
A few days after the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN) announced plans to move for a revocation of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu’s bail, the Nigerian Army announced it would commence Operation Python Dance II in the Southeast.
The military rationalised that the operation was aimed at curbing armed robberies, kidnappings and other crimes in the region.But even before the operation commenced, criticisms, public outcry and suspicions trailed it. While many argued that there was no prevalence of crimes in the zone to warrant military intervention, others were of the opinion that internal security was not the constitutional responsibility of the military. Some even said that the operation was a ploy by the Federal Government to quell agitations for Biafra and possibly arrest Kanu.
Unfortunately, by the time the exercise commenced in Abia State,Kanu’s home state, clashes occurred between IPOB members and soldiers with both sides accusing each other of starting the provocations that resulted in the confrontation that ensued.
As the clashes continued, some IPOB members were arrested and others allegedly killed. The Army labeled IPOB a terrorist organisation, a decision the Army later denied, but the Federal Government had since backed the decision through a court order. Kanu’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejioffor later accused the army of kidnapping his client on September 14.
However, in a reply to Ejiofor’s claim, military spokesperson, John Enenche, dismissed the allegations.“I watched the operations live. I also got first-hand information from our men on the ground. For the records, Nnamdi Kanu was never taken away by the military. The military was doing its routine exercise/operation. I saw everything, nobody raided Kanu’s house. I stand to justify it not from the information I got. I was watching it live. I was monitoring it live.”Following the conclusion of the exercise recently, it is time for the people of the region and the Nigerian Army to reflect on the gains and losses of the operation.
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