Operation Python Dance II in Southeast unpopular, poll shows

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In spite of the Nigerian Army’s insistence that its Operation Python Dance II is aimed to checkmate “kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery, violent secessionist agitations” and other crimes in Nigeria’s southeast, a cross-section of Nigerians said the month-long military exercise is unnecessary.

Operation Python Dance II, also known as Exercise Egwu Eke II, will commence today and will be headquartered in the Abia State capital Umuahia.

A similar exercise stationed at Onitsha, Anambra State, was carried out in the region last year and it lasted for three months.


A Nigerian Army spokesman said the success of last year’s exercise was an added impetus for staging Operation Python Dance II and that it is not targeted at any particular individual or group.

“Exercise Egwu Eke II is not targeted at any particular person or group,” Colonel Musa Sagir, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division, Enugu, who also serves as Information Coordinator for the Exercise Python Dance II, told The Guardian.

“It is aimed to checkmate kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery, farmers-herdsmen clashes, violent secessionist agitations and insurgency among other identified security challenges in the southeast,” he said.

But 54 per cent of 4937 respondents to a poll conducted on the Guardian’s website, Twitter and Facebook platforms said the exercise will be counterproductive.

Their misgiving about the military in the Southeast may be unconnected with the reported skirmishes between groups in Abia State, especially the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), and men of the Nigerian Army.

This led to the declaration of a dusk-to-dawn curfew by Abia State Governor Okezie Ikpeazu on Tuesday.

39.7 per cent of the respondents, however, said the Nigerian government was right to have introduced the operation in the region at this time.

Only 6.3 per cent of the respondents are indifferent to the exercise.

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