As Operation Python Dance in the South-East region continues to generate controversy, the Nigerian Army said on Saturday that it would launch an operation, Crocodile Smile II, which would cover the South-South region and some parts of the South-West.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, said this in an interview with Signature TV on Saturday, monitored by our correspondent.
The army spokesman noted that “encouraging feedback” from the South-East after Python Dance I made the army commence Python Dance lI.
He said, “Look, this is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The Nigerian military belongs to Nigeria and they have a duty to exercise in any part of the country. It is so sad that some people try to politicise these issues. They should have exercised patience and seen how this exercise would go.
“We had Operation Harbin Kunama II covering the North-West and parts of the North-Central this year. As soon as we are done with Egwu Eke II (Python Dance), we are also going on Crocodile Smile II that will cover the South-South and some parts of the South-West of the country.
“Operation Python Dance II came about based on the encouraging feedback we received as a result of Python Dance I held last year. This is especially because of the crimes during the ‘ember’ period in the region. You know that the South-easterners, who are enterprising and industrious people, have to return to their places at the end of the year.
“Unfortunately, some criminal elements take advantage of this period to perpetrate crimes. We have armed robberies, kidnappings, and communal clashes. But the Christmas of 2016 and New Year 2017 were the most peaceful in that part of the country, and that is attributed to the field training exercise, Python Dance I.”
The army spokesman said the activities of a group of “vocal people, out of mischief or ignorance trying to create violence” should not be taken as the stand of the South-East region.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, and 82 Division’s spokesman, Colonel Sagir Musa, while appraising Operation Python Dance II, told our correspondent on Saturday that people had been calling the communication lines supplied by the military to supply information.
Musa said, “There is no reported friction anywhere so far in the whole of the South-East. Apprehension has gone down and people are freely conducting their business. The volume of calls received so far through our dedicated public information cell phone numbers is unprecedented.”
Also, the Nigerian Navy said on Saturday that it was on a red alert to secure Nigeria’s unity, despite the tension generated by the activities of the Indigenous People of Biafra.
The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, said this in Abuja during the Navy Route March at the Mogadishu Cantonment, saying he had ordered the naval personnel to mobilise and secure the maritime domain.
Represented at the event by the Chief of Naval Transformation, Rear Admiral Ibe Enenwo, Ibas said, “Even without tasking, we are fully deployed in internal security situations as required by the constitution and for our own peculiar environment, the maritime environment.
“This exercise is holding simultaneously in all naval locations all over the country, and it is required now that we as military personnel keep fit. For you to execute the demanding task I have pointed out, things like security challenges are more now than we have before.”