From Jude Chinedu, Enugu
Acting Inspector General of Police, Mr. Usman Baba, yesterday, launched a new security operation to address rising insecurity and secessionist agitation in the South East.
The security operation is codenamed ‘Operation Restore Peace’ and is aimed at also forestalling attacks on security infrastructure in the region.
Launching the operation, Baba disclosed that the campaign was in compliance with the directive given to the Police, by President Muhammadu Buhari, to restore peace and security in the zone.
The IGP said that the operation was necessitated by need to quell inter-ethnic intolerance and agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
“Violent agitation and associated crimes, particularly, those that endanger the lives, property and livelihood of the civil populace and threaten our national unity, peace and security in the form being currently noticed do not and can never represent our traditional values as a people.
“Unfortunately, the current armed campaign by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and the Eastern Security Network (ESN) is constituting a major threat not only to these values, but to our national security and peaceful co-existence as a nation. Indeed, the resort to terror tactics, disregard to constitutional processes and disrespect for democratic standards to advance their interests of creating an ungovernable space in the region informed the decision of the Federal Government to outlaw IPOB.
He said that “the Operation RP in Enugu is the first in the line-up of our strategic plans to restore peace and order across the country” adding that “in the coming days, the special operation will be extended to other parts of the country to address the challenges of banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery.”
In his address, Governor Ugwuanyi said the occasion could not have come at a better time than now “given the bourgeoning insecurity in the country.”
He expressed optimism that the exercise would herald the rejigging and re-tooling of the internal security architecture in the South East to bring it up to speed with emerging dimensions of criminality.
“That expectation, in my judgment, seems more realisable with the reassuring presence of the Ag. Inspector-General of Police here today,” he said.
Stressing that his administration fully understands that the primary purpose of government is the security and welfare of the people, as enshrined in the Nigeria’s constitution, Governor Ugwuanyi stated that “pursuant to this leadership responsibility, we have strengthened our Neighbourhood Watch Associations, established Enugu State Forest Guards, which was a novel initiative of the South East Governors’ Forum, and provided security patrol vehicles and communication gadgets to support the security agencies in our state.”