14 September 2017

Nigeria: Don Seeks End to Army Occupation of Southeast

The military occupation of the Southeast is a clear demonstration of the fact that the ethnic cabal that controls the security apparatuses of the country sees the rest of country as a conquered territory and their peoples as mere subjects.

An Associate Professor and the Acting Head of Department of Political Science, Lagos State University, Sylvester Odion Akhaine, made the assertion yesterday in a statement made available to The Guardian.

He said he watched and listened the statement by the Nigeria Army's Chief of Training and Operations, Major General David Dawandi Ahmadu on Friday, September 8, 2017 to the effect that it was carrying out Egwu Eke II (Python Dance II).

"The statement underlined the manifest function of the exercise, which is that "emphasis will be placed on raids, cordon and search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, road blocks, check points, patrols, humanitarian relief activities such as medical outreach and show of force to curb the rising threat to national security in the Southeastern part of the country."

"However, the latent function is to pacify agitators for social justice and self-determination as the statement puts it, the exercise is "to transit into real time operations thereby fulfilling both training and operational objectives of sharpening operational skills of personnel, as well as providing an avenue to conduct operations against violent criminals and agitators when called upon," he stated.

Akhaine noted that against the background of the ongoing agitation for self-determination and a previous three-year civil war, the Nigerian army statement and its effectuation amount to an occupation of the Southeastern land of the Igbo.

He argued that irrespective of a play to the corridor of human rights, the sheer deployment of troops in peacetime to a region of the country began the violation of their rights as citizens of Nigeria and creates a state of siege and unmeasured psychological trauma.

"The clash in Abia State commences the trail of violation. In civilised climes, security operations in peacetime are underlined by collateral functions and sophisticated collection of intelligence.

"Truly, Nigeria faces a lot of security challenges, the most potent of them being the vicious killings being perpetrated by the so-called Fulani herdsmen, a terrorist gang rated as the fourth deadliest in the world by the Global Terrorism Index.

This ought to be the pre-occupation of the Nigerian army at this point of our historical annals. But rather, the same army and other security forces in the country have given unabashed partisan backing to the activities of the 'herdsmen," he stated.

Akhaine added that the current development only justified the call by the then Campaign for Democracy, which led the agitation against military rule among other groups in the 1990s for the re-organisation of the Nigerian army along regional command in order to ensure structural balance of terror.

"A situation where the country's armed forces are instrumentalised as an ethnic organisation is unacceptable to many of us and it must stop.

"Let us remember that history moves irrespective of our will, men intervene only to give it direction for social progress. Therefore, I join freedom loving Nigerians to demand the immediate withdrawal of the army of occupation from the Southeast," he added.

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