Operation Python Dance, Not Targeted At Civilians – Abia Dep-Gov

The Deputy Governor of Abia state, Mr. Ude Chukwu, has assured his people that the ongoing Operation Python Dance is not targeted at the civilians, contrary to what people think.

Receiving the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, during his inspection of the Nigerian Army Language Village Institute in Isikwuato area of the state, Mr. Chukwu praised the military in putting the security situation under control.

“I want to tell Abians and Nigerians that the exercise embarked by the Nigeria Army is not targeted on civilian, it is a routine exercise that the soldiers engage to retrain their staff, and to be able to attend to some of those security issues that are prevalent in this area, such as herdsmen/farmers clash, kidnapping, boundary issues amongst many others to ensure that the state is safe.”

Also speaking, a former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. General Azubike Ihejirika expressed confidence in the leadership of the COAS, while stressing that the essence for establishing the institute was being realized.

“I Am glad the chief of army staff is here to visit this facility. I want to say that the reason we established this institute looked obvious.

“But not everyone appreciates that Nigeria is surrounded, by French-speaking countries, but I want to say that it is our dream to have a strong Army capable of protecting all his borders through the commencement of this programme,” he added.

NAF Joins ‘Operation Python Dance’ In South East

NAF Joins 'Operation Python Dance' In South East

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed some of its aircraft to support the “Exercise Egwu Eke”, also known as “Operation Python Dance”, the in South East.

Various air assets including the Alpha Jet aircraft has immediately been deployed by the Air Force to it’s 115 Special Operations Group in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to support the ongoing exercise of the Nigerian Army.

See photos below;

Nigerian Air Force Joins Operation Python Dance

The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) has deployed some of its air assets in support of the military operation in South-East and code-named Operation Python Dance II.

Various air assets including the Alpha Jet aircraft have been deployed by the air force to it’s 115 Special Operations Group in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to support the ongoing Nigerian Army’s Exercise.

The essence of the deployment is to provide the necessary air cover to the ground troops to enhance overall operational cohesion and efficiency.

READ ALSO: Operation Python Dance II: Army Insists Troops Will Not Be Withdrawn

The military began the operation in the South East, officially on September 15, 2017, with the aim of ridding the region of criminals and other activities threatening the security of the area.

The wide expanse of the exercise area and the request by the Nigerian Army for close air support made the involvement of the NAF inevitable.

Operation Python is aimed at combatting security challenges in the Southeastern part of the country and the deployment of the air assets is in support of the Nigerian Army.

Military Not Under Any Pressure To Leave South East, Says Buratai

Military Officers Enjoined To Exhibit Absolute Loyalty

The Chief of Army staff; Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai has said that members of the military are not under any pressure to withdraw operations in the South-East region of the country.

The Army Chief said this on Monday, after the opening of the third quarter Nigerian army conference in Abuja.

The military had started a military operation code-named Operation Python Dance, in the South East with the aim of ridding the region of criminals and other activities threatening the security of the area.

This operation has been met with various criticisms with many calling for the withdrawal of the operation.

Buratai has however insisted that the operation continues and the military is not under any pressure to put an end to it. He said the military is acting with the jurisdiction of the constitution and therefore is not under any pressure.

“Nigerian Army is part of the political consideration in the democratic system. It is part of the democratic process. It is a product of the democratic governance. So, we are not under any pressure.

“We are doing what the constitution has provided. So we are not under any pressure whatsoever.”

Buratai also said, only the Federal Government has the jurisdiction to declare the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu wanted.

He also announced plans by the Nigerian army to launch special exercises across the country to further maintain peace and security.

‘Operation Python Dance’ To Be Conducted Annually – Army

'Operation Python Dance' To Be Conducted Annually – Army
File Photo

The Nigerian Army says “Exercise Egwu Eke”, also known as “Operation Python Dance”, will be conducted annually in the South-East region.

Army noted that the exercise was not targeted at any individual or group and urged Nigerians in the region to go about their normal businesses without fear.

“Please note, Exercise Egwu Eke (Python Dance) II, is now a scheduled Nigerian Army exercise to be conducted annually in the South-East region,” the Deputy Director of Public Relations, 82 Division Nigerian Army, Colonel Sagir Musa, said in a statement on Sunday.

“Exercise Egwu Eke, which started fully on the 15 September to 14 October 2017, is a normal routine Nigerian Army Field Training Exercise meant to sharpen the skills of the participating troops in the conduct of Internal Security Operations.”

READ ALSO: Army Denies Invasion Of Abia Community

The Army explained further that the exercise was aimed at combating the identified obvious security challenges in the South-East and to deal with the rising cases of insecurity such as kidnappings, farmers-herdsmen clashes, secessionist agitations and insurgency of any form among others.

“For emphasis, it is necessary to restate that the exercise and similar ones with different code names in some parts of the country were deliberately initiated and conducted with an overarching aim of checkmating identified security challenges prevalent in the regions where they were carried out.”

Colonel Sagir Musa

The Army explained further that the exercise was aimed at combating the identified obvious security challenges in the South-East, and to deal with the rising cases of insecurity such as kidnappings, farmers-herdsmen clashes, secessionist agitations and insurgency of any form among others.

“For emphasis, it is necessary to restate that the exercise and similar ones with different code names in some parts of the country were deliberately initiated and conducted with an overarching aim of checkmating identified security challenges prevalent in the regions where they were carried out.”

According to them, the first “Exercise Python Dance” was successfully and commendably conducted in the region from 27 November – 27 December 2016.

The Army noted that the exercise was fruitful then as its focus and targets – such as abductions, armed robbery and traffic gridlock at the Asaba-Onitsha Bridge among others – were successfully addressed.

They insisted that the concept of the current Exercise, like the previous one, was purely “Command Post, Field Training and Real-Time Exercise.”

“It is aimed to enhance troops’ agility and preparedness across the spectrum of contemporary and emerging security threats peculiar to South Eastern region.

“The Exercise is three in one, in that – it was – deliberately designed as a – Command Post Exercise that transmuted into Field Training Exercise and where necessary, it can dovetail into real-time mission or activities such as anti-kidnapping drills, Patrols, Raids, Cordon and Search, Check Points, Road Blocks and Show of Force,” the statement said.

The Army said “Exercise Python Dance” is multi agency in nature and execution, saying they are collaborating with Nigerian Police Force and the Federal Road Safety Commission among other agencies to ensure successful execution and attainment of outlined objectives.

“Also, the non-reliance on only Military Line of Operation to achieve the end states of the exercise was part of the texture of the strategy. For this season, an elaborate generous Civil Military Cooperation Line of Operation had been successfully planned and will be executed during this exercise.

“In this regard, some relevant Nigerian Army Corps and Services such as the Medical Corps and Engineers Corp will carry out free medical outreaches, roads and schools repairs across the South-East Region.

“On the whole, the Exercise has numerous objectives. Some of which are; to practice participating Units and Formations on planning, preparation and conduct of Internal Security Operations as well as to deter the activities of kidnappers, cultists, armed robbers and violent secessionist agitators.

“Others are – synergising with relevant paramilitary services to address the identified threats and sharpening the skills of troops towards current and emerging security challenges peculiar to the South-East region,” the statement read in part.

According to the Army, some of the exercises it has conducted successfully include Operation Awatse to tackle militants and oil installations vandals, illegal oil bunkering in the South West, especially in the creeks between Lagos and Ogun states.

They said “Exercise Shirin Harbi”, in addition to troops training, was also targeted at addressing restiveness, armed banditry and religious upheavals in the North-East, especially in Bauchi and Gombe states while the exercise was also aimed at containing the reign of killers, armed robbery/banditry in Southern Kaduna.

Others are “Exercise Harbin Kunama” launched in the North-East to combat cattle rustling, armed robbery, banditry, religious insurrection in Sokoto, Kaduna, Kano-Zamfara axis; as well as “Exercise Crocodile Smile” launched in the South-South to deal with criminal elements engaged in the vandalisation of oil pipelines and installations.

Full Resolutions Of South-East Governors On IPOB, Operation Python Dance

Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, reading the resolution with Enugu Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to his left and Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State to his right.

The South-East Governors Forum today held a meeting at the Government House in Enugu over the increased tension in the region after Sunday’s clash between soldiers and members of the Indigenous People of Biafra.

At the end of the meeting, which was also attended by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo John Nwodo, they arrived at 11 resolutions.

This included a ban on IPOB activities and an appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw soldiers from the region.

See the resolutions, which were read by the Chairman of the South-East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State Dave Umahi, below:

In view of the prevailing situation in the South East and its attendant consequences, the South-East governors hereby resolve as follows:

1. All activities of IPOB are hereby proscribed. IPOB and all other aggrieved groups are to articulate their position on all national issues and submit to the committee of Governors of South East, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and National Assembly members from South-East zone through the Chairman of South-East Governors Forum.

2. All governors of South East are expected to ensure compliance in their respective states.

3. The South-East Governors Forum, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and National Assembly members do hereby reinforce their commitment to one united and indivisible Nigeria.

4. We also reinforce our desire for the restructuring of Nigeria where all national issues will be discussed and amicably settled to achieve justice and fairness to every Nigerian.

5. We reiterate our earlier position that the November 18, 2017, Gubernatorial election in Anambra State must hold.

6. Accordingly, we appeal to our President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to, please, withdraw the military in the South-East Zone while the police perform their traditional role of maintaining law and order within this period.

7. South-East governors have taken concrete steps to protect the lives and properties of non-indigenes in the South East and, of course, including the lives and properties of indigenes in the South-East as well.

8. We are in touch with the Northern Governors Forum and they have assured us of the safety of all our people living in the North and we have also planned for exchange of visits between the governors. This is to reinforce the confidence of Nigerians in this regard.

9. In keeping with our earlier position, we wish to assure Nigerians that full investigation is ongoing and all allegations of killings, maiming and other unlawful conduct in the South-East Zone within this period. The governors and the security agencies are in agreement that appropriate action will be taken against anyone culpable.

10. We advise all residents of the South East to go about their normal businesses as the government of each state is committed to protecting everybody.

11. Finally, we advise our people in the South East to, please, be law abiding.

Former SSS Director Begs FG, Military to Stop Operation Python Dance

The former Director of the State Security Service (SSS), Mr Mike Ejiofor has called on the Federal Government and the military to put a stop to the military operation set up in the South East and code-named Operation Python Dance.    

Ejiofor, speaking on Channels Television Breakfast Programme, Sunrise Daily, expressed worry over the consequence of the military operation saying, it may lead the country into serious national trouble.

“It is a very worrying and disturbing situation. Operation Python dance has a grave consequence to our national security. My fears are that, if these situations are not checked now, it can conflagrate into a more serious national security situation.

“The military, I appeal, I am not giving an order must withdraw in the interest of peace. In the interest of peace, that dance of the military must stop.

“That dance is not necessary, it is uncalled for and I am using this opportunity to appeal to the military authorities and the Federal Government to stop that dance. That dance is not necessary,” he said.

Ejiofor expressed more worries at the code-name of the operation emphasising that a python is a dangerous animal and naming a military operation after such is not conciliatory.

He said, “Let’s look at it, Operation Python Dance, what is a python? A Python looks at its victim, suffocates the victim before it swallows it. That is not conciliatory at all.

“At this stage of our national life when we have a lot of security challenge, we should try and see how we can solve some of the problems instead of adding more to our problems.”

The military started Operation Python Dance, last year in the South East with the aim of ridding the region of criminals and other activities threatening the security of the area.

Last week, it announced plans for another second phase of the operation and code-named it Operation Python Dance II. However, this military operation in the region has given members of the public, including the Ohanaeze a cause for concern.

The security consultant, Ejiofor also expressed disagreement with the decision of the Nigerian army to take over Nnamdi Kanu’s residence in Abia State and appealed to the Nigerian army to let peace reign in the country.

He said, “The army, going to confront Kanu with his group is going to throw us into serious problems. I witnessed the civil war, no country survives a second civil war. We must do everything to avoid this.”

Operation Python Dance Is An Act Of Terror – Legal Practitioner

Nwachukwu

A legal practitioner, Mr Chuks Nwachukwu, has described the operation by the military including its show of force near the home of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, in Abia State as an act of terrorism.

Nwachukwu said during an appearance on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’, that what the military was doing in the South East was not backed by the Constitution.

He said, “This Operation Python Dance is unconstitutional, it is illegal, it is an act of terror. It is defined as an act of terror by the Nigerian Terrorism Prevention Act.”

He added, “I disagree with the person who said where there is suspicion of unrest, the army can be deployed. That is absolutely incorrect.

“You have the civil forces – the police, the DSS, what is their job? The civil forces are to engage any situation of breach of the law by anybody. The army should not have been there in the first place.”

The clash between the military and members of IPOB in Abia on Sunday had sparked a debate with both parties disagreeing on what happened and who was at fault.

On its part, the military said troops were only going through the streets of Isiama Afara, Umuahia area of the state, the hometown of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu in a show of force, when IPOB members attacked the troops with stones and sticks, injuring a soldier and a civilian in the process.

Mr Kanu, however, told journalists that the soldiers were trying to force their way into his home.

He said, “I was sleeping this evening (Sunday) when suddenly I was woken up by the blaring of sirens. Initially, I thought it was the Commissioner of Police who lives in the neighborhood that was returning home. But the blaring persisted and was followed up by sporadic gun shots.

“The soldiers wanted to bulldoze their way into the palace but IPOB members formed a human shield and resisted them. They wanted to break the shield and fired at three persons and wounded others before leaving. Everybody including children was running away in confusion.”

But the Director, Directorate of Defence Information, Major-General John Enenche, has since denied the allegation, accusing the IPOB members of attacking the soldiers.

“The truth is that they (troops) were just on their normal operation, patrolling, and some chaps who were later identified to be IPOB members came, blocked the road and said they should not pass.

“And they denied them access and started throwing stones at them; missiles, stones and things that are hard objects to the extent of injuring a soldier on his head and then a passerby by – one lady.

“That was what happened,” Enenche had said during an appearance on Sunrise Daily on Monday.

Nigerian Army To Begin ‘Operation Rescue Finale’ In Northeast

Tukur Buratai Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant-General on Operation Rescue FinaleThe Nigerian Army says it is set to commence and execute another operation in the northeast nicknamed ‘Operation Rescue Finale’ aimed at rescuing persons still held hostage by Boko Haram terrorists.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, announced the plan on Monday in Owerri, the capital of Imo State, during the opening ceremony of the 2016 Chief of Army Staff Conference.

He says Operation Rescue Finale is a consolidation on the stabilisation phase of operations already executed in the area.

The Chief of Army Staff expressed the belief that a well planned and executed Operation Rescue Finale would bring about decisive elimination of the Boko Haram terrorists in Nigeria’s northeast.

He said that even though the Nigerian army in the preceding quarters of the year 2016 faced daunting challenges, the Nigerian Army in its resolve would continue to discharge its constitutional roles towards ensuring peace and stability in the country as well defend the nation’s democracy and its territorial integrity.

The conference, holding at the Imo trade and investment Centre, was declared open by a representative of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal.

It has as its theme: “Consolidating on the gains of counter insurgency operations towards achieving national security”.

Mr Lawal assured Nigerians that with the renewed vigour and commitment of the Nigerian Army, terrorism and insurgency would soon become a thing of the past

 

Meanwhile, the governor of the state, Mr Rochas Okorocha, commended the Nigerian Army for the sacrifice and commitment to the protection of lives and property of all Nigerians and the protection of the Nation’s unity.

With the speech of the Army Chief, hopes were raised that the Operation Rescue Finale by the Nigerian Army would give hope to families of the Chibok girls and other families whose children might still be held captive by the Boko Haram terrorists.

The Nigerian Army says the choice of the southeast to hold this year’s conference is in consonance with the vision of the Chief of Army Staff to move the hierarchy of the Nigerian Army to dialogue with all regions of the country with a view to finding security solutions peculiar to the people.

It is also expected to x-ray the Operation Python Dance recently launched in the southeast with a view to make the Yuletide a pleasant one.