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Published On: Fri, Sep 15th, 2017

On deployment of soldiers against IPOB

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The recent deployment of soldiers in the South East has attracted mixed reactions from the people.
While some concerned compatriots, whose adrenalin has been raised by the activities of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) in recent times, endorsed the Operation Python Dance Campaign in the region, not a few argued against the action on the ground that the army was being engaged to usurp the roles of the Nigeria Police.
Although some argue that there has not been a situation of breakdown of law and order in the region warranting the the deployment of soldiers for peace keeping, but it is obvious that only an irresponsible government would wait for situation to escalate before acting to protect lives and properties.
Utterances from the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, and the daringness of his followers who are demanding for a conduct of referendum to determine whether the Igbos would continue to remain in Nigeria have become a source of worry to the people who have unanimously resolved to live as an indivisible and united country.
The IPOBians have vowed to disrupt the governorship election scheduled to hold in Anambra state in November and they have since been making efforts to make good their threats by organizing rag-tag army.
Similarly, hate speeches coming from Kanu were capable of inciting the people to war. Several efforts to make him see reasons and follow the path of civility in his agitation met brick walls as he spurned peace talks with the governors in the region.
So daring were the IPOBians that it was reported that they confronted the soldiers who were on Operation Python Dance campaign particularly in Abia state. A Police station in Ariaria was also reported razed down in Aba.
People were unanimous in the belief that the security agencies must keep more than a passing eye on the secessionists, but they disagreed with the involvement of the military in efforts to control the security situation.
According to legal minds, due process was not followed in the deployment of the soldiers. They also raised the fears that drafting soldiers into a civil matter could turn bloody as they are not trained to deal with civilians.
It was in the midst of this argument on propriety or otherwise in the deployment of military that the announcement came that the soldiers have undertaken to withdraw from the streets of Aba and Umuahia, the state capital, yesterday.
This decision is laudable as it portrays the government as a listening to constructive criticisms and this will go in long way in resolving the matter.
But, beyond the withdrawal of the soldiers from the streets, the process of making the IPOB leader to face charges in the court should be expedited while those elders in the region should be put to task in the arduous challenge of ensuring peaceful coexistence in that region.
Those elders who witnessed the civil war should guide the exuberant youths as war, in itself, is not a tea party. There is need for government at the federal and state levels to initiate programs aimed at de-radicalizing those young men who obviously know next to nothing about war and inculcate in them the virtues of patriotism.
The government should also equip the police adequately for them to handle civil unrest as the military remains the last option in a democracy.

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