SAN FRANCISCO, September 12, (THEWILL) – The apex Igbo socio-political organisation, Ohanaeze Ndigbo on Tuesday requested the Federal Government to direct the military to immediately call off its recently launched operation in the South-East.
It said that the presence of the military through an operation known as Exercise Python Dance II, was an invasion of the region and is aimed at intimidating the people of the South-East.
Ohanaeze Ndigbo stated this in a statement issued on Tuesday in Abuja and signed by its President-General, Chief John Nnia Nwodo.
The Army Chief of Training and Operations, Maj.-Gen. D. D. Ahmadu, had on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, announced the setting up of the operation to tackle “assassinations,
attack on security personnel, theft of weapons, violent agitations, armed banditry and kidnapping”.
But disagreeing with the institution of the exercise simultaneously going on in Enugu, Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia and Imo states, Nwodo stated that currently Nigeria does not need such deliberate escalation of tensions and crisis.
He argued that rather than resort to the use of brute force in resolution of an issue of self determination, there were more civilised and established practices to resolve our democratic and security challenges.
Nwodo said that if the presence of the military which he alleged amounted to an act of intimidation was not discontinued, he would be left with no option than to conclude that this is a containment policy aimed at the South-East.
He said it is to intimidate our people from freely expressing their anger and angst at their marginalisation and treatment as second class citizens.
“In a democracy, the level of disenchantment expressed by the people of the South-East of Nigeria ought to have provoked a serious dialogue between our people and the Federal Executive and the Legislature.
“History teaches us that the continuous use of force to silence dissent and free speech will only accelerate the growth of dissent and dissatisfaction.
“Fundamental Rights of freedom of expression are critical for a successful democracy,” the Igbo leader pointed out.