The governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi has advised the Nigeria army to deal with IPOB, MASSOB in a civilized and professional manner during the Operation Python Dance III exercise ahead of the upcoming elections.
The message was conveyed to the Commander of 82 division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Abubarka Maikobi, at the Government House, Abakaliki on behalf of the South East Governors which Mr David Umahi chairs.
He however, warned that the army to be neutral in disposition of its powers so to restore the confidence of the people in the South East ahead of the polls.
The governor also asked the army to avoid any confrontations with the proscribed Indigenous Peoples Of Biafra, IPOB as it would help restore confidence in the voters before the 2019 general election.
“The neutrality of the security agencies in the forthcoming election is very important, if Nigeria will continue to remain one because every act done by anybody, they must understand the consequences.
“We must do every thing possible to assure the masses of this country the neutrality of security agencies. God has already known who will win in the coming election starting from the House of Assembly to Governor and so on.”
He warned the exercise wasn’t going to be easy especially with the high tension in the region as a result of those who insist there’ll be no elections and others suspecting the ruling party wants to rig the election with help of security forces.
“Your job is not an easy one. You are coming at a time the members of the Movement for actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB, in the south east said there will be no election.
“It is coming at a time the society suspects the security agencies as an agent to rig election. It is coming at a time we have so much crisis with our neighboring states.
“We have people that are agitated and I always say that what IPOB are demanding should not be a force. Some of them have genuine reasons to complain.
“But should not get to the point of insulting people and calling their tribes names, even castigating their own leaders.
“I get thousands of calls from a frustrated people in the name of IPOB. Yes, they have genuine reasons to complain but they shouldn’t continue the way they are going.
We have proscribed IPOB because of their activities and I have no apologies to them.
He warned the entire region would rise up against any attempt to rig the election by the ruling party with the help of security forces.
Mr Dave Umahi said the army is free to establish their headquarters (HQ) and carry out her duties in the state as long as they keep it professional.
Major General Abubarkar Maikobi, said he was in Ebonyi State to be informed about the plan of the Nigerian army to conduct the operation Egwu Eke III and also to meet with the people of the state.
“I am also here to inform you that I have been mandated by the Chief of Army Staff to formally inform you as the Chief Security Officer of the State that exercise Egwu Eke III was flagged off in Maiduguiri, Borno State.
“The exercise is scheduled to take place from January 1 to 28 February, 2019. We have selected Ebonyi under your purposeful leadership as the location for the step-up headquarters for the exercise”
“I assure you and good people of Ebonyi State that the Nigeria Army will remain neutral, professional and totally apolitical. Nigerian army will not compromise its constitutional roles under any guise,”
The upcoming 2019 general election is expected to experience some level of violence but to what extent is anyone’s guess.
IPOB has always maintained that there’ll be no election in the whole of the SE/SS region. Where this’s going to lead to is yet unknown but not a good outcome considering the history of the Nigeria army’s notoriety at shooting at unarmed helpless people.