Chris Steven, Abuja
A South-east group ,Igbos for Nigeria Movement (INM) has says it was not surprised with the recent criticism by some groups against the deployment of military personnel to the South-east .
It said that the idea of military presence in the region is making life uncomfortable for criminals operating in the region.
The group said there are those whose criminal enterprise are being threatened with the presence of the military and are ready to deploy every tool of blackmail at their disposal to portray the military presence in the region in bad light.
In a statement by Mazi Ifeanyi Igwe, IMN National Co-ordinator, made available to journalists, said those who have however been victims of the activities of the criminals are happy with the presence of the military and commended President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring that.
He particularly mentioned a recent public statement credited to a coalition of CSOs under the banner of the International Society for Civil Liberties & the Rule of Law (Intersociety).
Igwe lambasted the CSOs, describing their statement as diversionary campaigns of blackmail and distraction of the determination and focus of the FGN to rid our perennially troubled region of violent crimes
“Firstly, we wish to publicly express our limitless happiness and excitement with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for once again remembering to invoke this security alertness, which has proven to be a security tonic to the Southeast region currently under siege by armed and violent criminal gangs who daily plague our lives” he said.
“We are living witnesses to the upsurge of criminal activities, which consistently plague the region. There is none of us who cannot conscionably attest to the horrific and resentful spate of assassinations, armed robberies, kidnappings/abductions, violent secession agitations and a range of other terrorists acts foisted on us by criminal gangs operating in the region.”
Igwe said there is no hesitation in asserting that only criminals who have something to hide are gripped by phobia at the presence of the military anywhere in the world.
According to the INM boss said a similar exercise by the Nigerian Army code named “Operation Python Dance I” at about the same time, under the supervision Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lt. Gen. Tukur Yusufu Buratai and his subordinates in 2016, ensured a secured environment for business and the yuletide festivities.
He stated further, “therefore, we perceive the second phase of the exercise this month as the continuation with the efforts at cleansing our besieged and assailed communities by ridding them of criminal gangs. We wholeheartedly support this initiative of the FGN, as we pledge out total and unadulterated support as well as co-operation to the success of this mission”.
“We have no doubt that this decision by the Buhari Presidency is not only germane, but has become imperative in the Southeast region, hence we are losing too many precious lives to these heartless and bloodcurdling vampires tormenting our peace, commence and fast-forwarding the dislocation of our social and communal existence so dangerously”.
He said experiences have shown the ferociousness, sophistry of arms and frequency of these violent raids of communities, households or attacks on targeted individuals and worship places or chilling murders of security agents, as overstretching and overwhelming the regular civil security like the Police, DSS, and Civil Defence among others.
He said, “we dare say, it is extremely uncharitable and belies wisdom for Intersociety to foul the air by resistibly categorizing the current move by the government to secure the Southeast from these hoodlums as a declaration of unwarranted and unprovoked “war” on Igbo nation. And we do not believe they have the license to dictate to the FGN how it handles any insecurity issues.
“We are prompted to ask, with our gory and painful experiences these past months, what the state governors in the Southeast, who have the Police at their beck and call have achieved in this regard that the CSOs have the temerity to question and erroneously qualify the deployment of soldiers as militarization of the region. We do not believe democratic liberties are anchored vaguely or argued on a blank cheque. The declaration of Intersociety amounts to dancing on the graves of the victims of these criminal gangs and mocking the pains and sorrows of the families of the victims.”