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Why The Distrust Of The Army By South Easterners And Rejection Of Medical Outreach?

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By Ike A. Offor

The Nigerian Army’s entrance to the region for Operation Python Dance was fervent, aggressive and their actions were very brutal and fear-invoking indeed.

Army officers flogged innocent citizens including very aged men and women to instil fear in them in order to subdue them and their thought of Biafra.

The Nigerian army rolled in with their armoured personnel carriers in such manner that depicted war, hate and disrespect for the South Easterners’ basic human rights.

The army left the operation or exercise but began to attack the members of the IPOB and other Biafrans. No one was spared even journalists were beaten, flogged and brutalized. Passerbys are not spared in their display of force and unprofessional misconduct. The office of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, was attacked simply because the journalists were filming the entrance of the armoured personnel carriers being driven onto the streets. The Nigerian Army later claimed that the overzealous army officers will be dealt with. Up until now, no one has been reprimanded.

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Then, the mission to subdue the Biafrans culminated in the invasion of IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu’s family home and more brutality was unleashed in his home in which even the family dog was not spared. His family was pursued with the full force of military brutality and disdain and disregard for the law even away from the true nature of the operation python dance.

South Easterners who wore Biafran T-shirts, necklaces, bracelets and other paraphernalia depicting Biafra were all brutalised in broad daylight. There were accounts of deaths, extra-judicial executions of these people. There were accounts of retrieving of corpses of those shot and put away in secret morgue.

All these unlawful and brutal behaviours decimated the trust that the people would have had for any goodwill from the army. The Nigerian Army killed their trust in them, army disrespected their humanity. They violated their basic human rights and put fear in them.

That fear the army sought to instil in them killed the trust for the army and whatever that could come from them. It doesn’t matter anymore if you come with free food or free medical treatment. So, do not complain that they now fear and distrust the army. Isn’t that what the Nigerian Army set out to achieve in their unprofessional military mannerism?

Army should blame it on themselves and not on those South Easterners, who reciprocated to glaring, odd and gross military mannerism. Now, you have got what you wanted.

 

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UPDATE: Pandemonium As Imo, Anambra Indigenes Flee Military Medical Outreach (Video) |RN

By Ike A. Offor

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There was pandemonium today in several towns and Onitsha, Enugu cities today as people fled from Nigerian army free medical-outreach exercise due to rumours of diseases and deaths.

The medical outreach was conceived to turn the hearts of the people towards the army after such terrible public relations with the Operation Python Dance in the region, which turned deadly and claimed many lives.

Industrial Nnewi Town Pandemonium 

In a case in the industrial town of Nnewi, the schools were closed just like in the rest of the State and rumour of death spread. This prompted a press release from the state government.

Press Statement: Army Medical Outreach

The attention of the State Government has been drawn to an ongoing medical outreach being undertaken by the Army in Ozubulu, Ekwusigo Local Government Area.

The State has been made to understand that the exercise is part of Army social responsibility to members of the public.

However, strong apprehension among the populace has followed the exercise leading to the withdrawal of students from schools by parents, misconception of the actual motive behind the exercise by stakeholders, community leaders and a general reservation by the public for whom the outreach is intended.

To this end and to ensure no further escalation of the situation, His Excellency the Governor, Chief Willie Obiano has contacted the Army Authorities and advised for immediate stoppage of the medical outreach until wide sensitization is conducted to reassure people of its intentions and benefits. The exercise has therefore been put on hold.

Parents and guardians are strongly advised to stop withdrawing their wards from schools as the situation has been handled. All schools within the State will remain open as there is no cause for alarm! Community leaders, Presidents General and all Stakeholders are hereby reassured of the commitment of the Governor and the State Government to the wellbeing of Ndi Anambra.

The State Government also strongly condemns observed rhetorics on social media completely misrepresenting the situation with insinuations of the spread of diseases and death of students in schools arising from the exercise. The State categorically refutes these rhetorics and confirms that there is no death of any student anywhere in the State. Mischief makers are warned to desist from spreading falsehood. Anambra remains calm and peaceful!

Thank you!

Prof Solo Chukwulobelu
Secretary to the State Government.

In another press release from the Nigerian Medical Association, Anambra branch, the body expressed how the panic was created and spread which caused the withdrawal of pupils and students from schools. The body also asked the Army to discontinue the exercise until frayed nerves are calmed.

 

Press Release From Nigerian Medical Association, Anambra Branch

I have authentically confirmed from the intelligence services that:

1. There was actually a scheduled medical outreach Programme by the Nigerian Army;

2. Such Programmes are routinely done after every military exercise in communities e.g. Operation Python Dance;

3. That the Council Chairmen and Traditional Rulers of concerned communities were duly informed;

4. But, it appears that to information was not adequately disseminated to the citizenry;

5. Those soldiers were only setting up the sheds and stands for the exercise when some individuals concocted the rumours of an ulterior motive and began disseminating the false alarm;

6. That the false alarm led to considerable panic and confusion in the whole State now -Awka, Nnewi, Ozubulu, Onitsha, etc;

7. The Military has therefore been advised to suspend the Outreach Programme immediately in order to calm frayed nerves;

8. The State Government will soon make a public broadcast to dispel the rumour and properly explain what happened.

On my side, I am still collating information from the footmen that have been sent to the field by NMA ANAMBRA State. If what we collate vary from the official version from what I got from the intelligence agencies, I shall give out the update.

JKC
Chair, NMA ANAMBRA State Branch

Palpable reasons behind the panic

This is simply an expression of how untrustworthy the Nigerian army is in the region, which has accused the Nigerian security forces of ulterior motives in the Operation Python Dance, which caused terrible human casualties in Aba, Abia state. So, the people are very wary of the Nigerian Army and will not accept any free medical attention from them.

The leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s family home was attacked during this very operation and his whereabouts is still very unclear. The IPOB was proscribed and labelled terrorist group, which has led to many criticisms both within the shores of Nigeria and the international community.

The same incidents were reported in Imo State and in Enugu state where parents rushed from markets and their businesses to withdraw their wards from their various.

The Pandemonium was like in a civil war where people run in all directions to avoid military attacks. In a video recorded by a witness in Onitsha, it felt like something serious was happening and children fled with fright on their faces.

https://web.facebook.com/M4DSOUL/videos/10207988304825853/

 

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BREAKING NEWS: Pandemonium In Anambra As Citizens Refuse Free Military Medical Outreach

breaking-news-The-Republican-News

By Ike A. Offor

There is pandemonium in Anambra state as pupils, students and market women and men ran for their lives and that of their wards in school as the Nigerian Army free medical attention cause serious concern among citizens.

The free medical treatment by the Nigerian army has gotten a very bad impression in South East Nigeria, where they are obviously not welcome. The Operation Python dance is ill-conceived and the people have refused it by all means

The Republican News can authoritatively confirm that the people of  Ekwusigo LGA, Nnewi, Onitsha and other towns have deserted markets, schools and other public places to avoid army medical outreach.

Children in schools ran for their lives at the sight of the Nigerian army medical group, who they called Hausa-Fulani killers who inject children with deadly diseases.

All schools in Anambra have closed at the time of this report.

Parents have taken their wards away from school to avoid medical attention by members of the Nigerian armed forces medical outreach.

Some of the children The Republican News interviewed in Omagba Primary School in Onitsha confirmed with hard breathing after running away from their school to avoid being injected.

They claimed that those who were injected by the’ Hausa people’ fainted on the spot after the injection. They said that Hausa-Fulani people were in the uniform of nurses and came to their school gate and banged on the gate. Their gateman refused to open but went to inquire from their head teacher and other teachers, who then came to the gate but refused to open for those uniformed nurses.

After this incident, the teachers reportedly ran away and they told their pupils to run away to avoid being injected. This caused a very big pandemonium in the Omagba primary school in Onitsha.

This very same news was confirmed in Nnewi, Ozubulu and other towns in Anambra state.

But The Republican News later learnt that it was the Nigerian army medical outreach, who obviously are not welcome in this region to conduct any medical outreach. The people do not want the Nigerian army and whatever they will give out whether free or not.

Details later…….

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Again, Army Raids Nnamdi Kanu’s Family Home, Claims Acted On Intelligence |RN

 

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IPOB Leader, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu

 

‘We acted on intelligence, removed technical items’

Three weeks after a detachment of soldiers from the Nigeria Army invaded the Afaraukwu, Umuahia country home of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, his family raised the alarm yesterday evening,  that soldiers invaded the residence, again.
Kanu’ younger brother,  Emmanuel, alleged in an informal interaction with newsmen, yesterday, that the soldiers invaded their home and carted away some household items including the television, generating sets and clothes, among other family property.
“The international community should prevail on the Army to stop raiding our home, again. We have been telling the army to produce my bother, whose whereabouts have remained unknown since after the September 14, 2017, military invasion of our compound…”
On its part, the military confirmed the operation but denied removing any household items from the compound.
Desk Officer in charge of Operation Python Dance II, in Abia State, who declined to be named simply said: “We were there in search of weapons, no household items were removed from Kanu’s home.
The army officer, who asked to be identified simply as ‘Desk Officer for the operation” also disclosed that the operation was a joint exercise with the Police and asked that further enquiries be directed there.
“You can make further enquiries from the police,” he noted and added that yesterday’s operation was based on intelligence report that arms were hidden in the compound.
“The things removed may be technical items. Somebody was also arrested with a weapon in the compound,” he disclosed.
But, efforts to get police reaction was unsuccessful as the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr Geoffrey Ogbonna, did not pick calls to his mobile telephone.
Also, he didn’t respond to text messages.
On September 14, a combined team of the army, the police and officials of the Department of State Services allegedly invaded Kanu’s home.
Thereafter, IPOB spokesman, Emma Powerful told newsmen the whereabouts of Kanu, his parents and his siblings could not be ascertained.
Daily Sun’s efforts to speak with the Nigeria army headquarters in Abuja were unsuccessful.
Several telephone calls to top officials went unanswered, as at 9:35pm, yesterday.         (The Sun)

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Nnamdi Kanu Has No Means Of Livelihood, Says Nigerian Army |RN

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                        Nnamdi Kanu

Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

 The Nigerian Army has said the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has no means of livelihood but used “propaganda” to make people believe him.

The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig. Gen. Sani Usman, stated this in Abuja while rounding off a two-day media conference on the military’s enhancement of human rights.

Related: IPOB Sues Buratai, Demands Kanu’s Whereabout |The Republican News

The army spokesman, who stressed the need for a robust army-media relationship towards enhancing national security, said those people following the IPOB leader were in a “one-chance vehicle.”

Usman said, “There was an allegation that somebody (Kanu) went into hiding. Now, I can’t remember the day but in an interview on Channels TV, one of Nnamdi Kanu’s younger brothers said that he was in hiding and he knew where he was.

Related: IPOB Berates Uzor Kalu Over Claim Of Nnamdi Kanu’s Whereabouts, Calls Him Desperate Hausa-Fulani Slave

“And one lawyer came up that he has taken the Chief of Army Staff to court. Now, who gave you the brief? You said you do not know where he (Kanu) is. Now, who gave you the brief? And the media is asking us where is Nnamdi Kanu? Why not ask the man that said so who gave him the brief to take people to court when he does not know where the man is?

“…That is why those people following him have entered into a one-chance vehicle. This is somebody standing trial in a criminal case. Sometimes, whether we like it or not, we want to stand against the truth. But no matter how long, the truth will come to pass on October 17. This is an individual without a means of livelihood.

Related: BREAKING NEWS: Soldiers Invade Nnamdi Kanu’s Family House, Kill 18 |RN

“I can speak eloquently. So what? If I can speak like him; I can also have my own group, that’s exactly what is happening. So, what is the essence of our education as a people? You know that somebody is in a criminal case, and you believe in him.”   (Punch)

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Ex-Chief Of Army Staff, Ihejirika Joins Python Dance 11 Exercise |The Republican News

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Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (Rtd)

The Nigerian Army has launched a free medical outreach in Ovim, Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia, as an integral part of the ongoing Python Dance II exercise in the South-East of the country.

A statement signed by the Deputy Director of Public Relations, 82 Division, Col. Sagir Musa, and made available to newsmen in Enugu, described the programme as a success.

Musa said that the programme followed a directive by the Chief of Army Staff, Maj.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.

He said that the former Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika and other dignitaries were present at the event.

“One interesting aspect of the exercise is the generous donations of rice, dental and optometry services, malaria and de-worming tablets, eyeglasses, treated mosquito nets to the locals, among others.

“In addition to the de-worming tablets, school children were given packets of biscuits, chewing gum and chocolates,” Musa said.

Ihejirika is from Ovim.

Meanwhile, Musa said that various formations and corps commanders of the Nigerian Army training institutions had been visiting areas covered by the Python Dance II.

He said that the visits, as directed by Buratai, were designed for interaction with the troops and assess the success of the ongoing exercise.

He said that the commanders have conducted round some field locations and check-points along Enugu-Nsukka and Enugu-Abakaliki axis.

“The Commander of Nigerian Army College of Logistics, Maj.-Gen. RC Duru visited Sector 2 Operational Headquarters, where he was briefed on the exercise.

“The commander was later conducted round the hitherto volatile areas of Ohaji Egbema in Imo State.

“So far, the entire South-East has been peaceful and people are seamlessly carrying out their normal businesses,” Musa said. (NAN)

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IPOB: An Expression Of Igbo Marginalisation – Okoro |The Republican News

By Dickson Okafor

MBarnabas Okoro, former Deputy Director, Administrative and Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON) has condemned the branding of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group by the federal government.

This is just as he described the use of force against Igbo agitators who according to him were exercising their fundamental human rights as a crime against humanity. The Legal Adviser to Ohaneze Ndigbo, Badagry chapter, also called for the withdrawal of the military from the zone. He spoke on other issues.

Having lived in the Badagry area of Lagos State for close to 38 years, are you not suppose to enjoy the rights of an indigene?

That is how it ought to be as it is done in other clime but not so in Nigeria. Having worked and lived in Lagos for 37 years I’m supposed to become an indigene of the state and also enjoy all the rights and privileges. I gave birth to all my children here in Badagry yet, they cannot be addressed as indigenes but they still see them as strangers.

What is your take on the use force by the federal government to tame the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra?

It is ridiculous for the Nigerian Army Headquarters to brand the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a terrorist group. It is a breach of the fundamental human rights of IPOB members because they are not violent but a peaceful group. The Nnamdi Kanu led IPOB is just like other groups agitating for equal rights in the country. Why haven’t government arrested Fulani herdsmen and Arewa youths who gave Igbo quit notice to leave the north on or before 1st October? Why are soldiers sent to Abia State to kill our unarmed people, a group whose agitation is peaceful in the South-East? Take a look around Lagos and virtually all parts of the country, you see Igbo making contributions towards the development of these areas.

Our investments are scattered all over the six geopolitical zones helping to build the economy of the nation, yet, we are denied rights and privileges of indigenes of these states. Go to Igbo land, there is no federal presence. The government was quick to detail the military called ‘Operation Python Dance’ to force the people to drop agitation for their right to self-determination; unfortunately, they have refused to apply such speed in the development of the South-East. Military action cannot solve the problem rather it will worsen the matter. Why are our brothers and sisters in the north against restructuring the country? Nigeria has outlived its usefulness and it is a time we re-negotiate the terms of engagement and that is what the Igbo is demanding for. What is wrong in a family sitting down to talk about their problems and find a way to solve it?   

Why are you not blaming your representatives in the National Assembly for not putting up a legislation that could correct the issue?

Igbo representatives in the National Assembly won’t do more than they have done because Northern legislators are more in number. So, the Hausa Fulani hegemony is a ploy to keep Igbo underdeveloped and politically incapacitated. Any attempt by South-East legislators to create an additional state in the zone will be shot down by the northern lawmakers. The same applies to indigeneship.  Any attempt to give non-indigenes rights of an indigene having lived in a part of the country for 20 years will be resisted by indigenes of the geopolitical zones especially the north. This is so because only a few of them live in the South-East. Also, the lawmakers from the South-west will oppose the motion for the same reason. In fact, it will be dead on arrival. Therefore, there are no democratic means that can make that happen except we restructure and that is one of the reasons Northerners are opposed to restructuring.

Recently Southwest leaders converged on Ibadan to back regionalism, why haven’t Igbo taken a collective position on restructuring?

Mind you, Igbo was the first to demand restructuring which is the Aburi Accord. Today, other regions tried to dodge the word, Aburi Accord, so they chose nomenclatures like, true federalism, restructure, regionalism, resource control and state police. The late Dim Chukwuemeka Odimegwu Ojukwu capture all these phrases in the Aburi Accord and Gen. Yakubu Gowon accepted it and signed, but when he got home, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo interpreted it to him and Gowon renege on that agreement. Igbo said on Aburi we stand and that led to civil war.  The reneging of that accord marked the beginning of supremacy clash among the regions in Nigeria.

So, that the Yoruba took a decision recently on restructuring is not new because they are trying to right the wrong. Even some Northerners who are clamouring for restructuring today are doing so because they have seen the need for it. Many who killed Aburi Accord are regretting it today because Aburi Accord if implemented, would have united the country. It is unfortunate that Ojukwu who saw tomorrow was misunderstood. But because the lopsidedness of the country’s structure favoured the north, they won’t endorse restructuring.     

Hate speeches and inciting statements have dominated our airwaves in the recent time, is that the best way to go about restructuring?

I don’t support hate speeches or inciting statements in whatever guise, but come to think of it, President Muhammadu Buhari should be blamed for hate speeches because he started it.

How?

When he said those who voted for him -90 per cent would benefit more from his government and he indeed gave people from other regions more attention that is the reason for the lopsidedness in his appointments. He contradicted himself when he said he was for nobody but for everybody during his inaugural address.

I expected President Buhari to prove the Igbo wrong who during the 2015 election believed he was anti-Igbo and decided not to vote for him, but instead of Buhari to win our confidence by engaging Igbo in his administration, he chose to marginalise the South-East.