Operation Python Dance: Nigerian Army Apologizes to Igbo Mandate Congress Chieftain over Assault
The Nigerian Army has apologized to the Coordinator of Igbo Mandate Congress in the United States and publisher of Nigerian Masterweb, Chief Charles Okereke over assault by troops near Umuahia while returning to the city. This was contained in the situation report received by the leadership of Igbo Mandate Congress IMC over the incidence yesterday.
Igbo Mandate Congress learnt that its United States Coordinator was returning from a peace mission to Umuahia from Aba in the company of his Nigerian editor on Monday September 11, 2017, when soldiers stopped them at a check point at Ubakala on the outskirts of Umuahia. The obviously drunk soldiers asked them why they were returning late to Umuahia and they answered that it is just 7pm and the roads and traffic holdups delayed their journey. The said soldiers asked them to go, and as they were moving, the person in front hit his stick at the Nigerian editor while the man at the back smashed the windscreen of the vehicle and cocked their gun in a shooting position.
Chief Okereke had earlier reported the unfortunate incidence to the leadership of Igbo Mandate Congress IMC and its members were alerted to prepare for a legal redress in the United States and Nigeria if the authorities fail to correct the anomaly.
Chief Okereke told the Director General of Igbo Mandate Congress, Rev Obinna Akukwe and other chieftains of the group that upon getting to the Brigade Headquarters in Umuahia to report the incidence, he was received by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Adamu Baba Abubakar and the Commander 14 Brigade, Brigadier AK Ibrahim who on hearing about the incidence apologized to him. They promised to look into the incidence and take action against the overzealous soldiers.
Brigadier Abubakar, while claiming responsibility for all deployments at every checkpoint, told Chief Okereke that that very spot where the unfortunate incidence occurred was the spot where a soldier was beaten up by IPOB members and his magazine thrown away and believed that probably the tension created by the incidence led to the conduct of the soldiers. The soldier molested by alleged IPOB members at the same spot of the incidence was pointed out to Chief Okereke.
Igbo Mandate Congress learnt that that one of the soldier whose magazine was thrown away by IPOB members was still lying critically ill at the barracks while few other soldiers were receiving treatment for injuries sustained from IPOB.
In his response, the Director General of Igbo Mandate Congress, Rev Obinna Akukwe praised the professional manner Chief Okereke handled the matte and wondered why a bridge builder like him who arrived Nigeria for a peace mission will be rough handled and nearly assassinated. He also commended the soberness shown by both the GOC and Brigade Commanders when a case of infraction and infringement was reported. He advised that the drunken soldiers involved in the ‘Operation Python Dance’ be withdrawn from the highways and replaced with saner persons in order not to exacerbate the charged situation.
Rev Akukwe noted that “it is unfortunate that about seven persons were killed in Nnamdi Kanu’s house when the military broke into the place. We are still collating their names. The military authorities should pay compensation for the unfortunate incidence. Those still under military custody should be released immediately to go home. Igbo Mandate Congress does not believe in abusing the Hausas, Yorubas , Fulanis and other tribes in the name of Biafra. Hate messages is not a Christian culture and we have publicly and privately cautioned our brothers over the issue “
He added that “It is instructive that the military that attacked the home of the Shiite leader in December 2016, killing everybody in the building numbering probably over five hundred, which Igbo Mandate Congress condemned publicly, have improved tremendously in rules of engagement, because over 500 persons were in Kanu’s house as human shield by the time of the military invasion and most of them escaped, including Kanu and his siblings, except the unfortunate seven hit by stray bullets” and asked that the number of soldiers and police men on the streets of Aba and Umuahia be reduced to reduce tension .