Suprisingly and contrary to the generalized opinion that south easterners in Nigeria are uncomfortable with army activities in the East,Several Igbo sons and daughters on Thursday marched to the Presidential villa for eulogize the efforts of the Federal Government for introducing the operation python dance to tackle insecurity in the South East.
The exercise, the group said has helped to maintain peace and unity in the South East.
The National Coordinator of the group, Chief Uche Chegwo who led the march said the ibo people wil forever be greatful to President Buhari and the Nigerian Army.
He said, ” Like other patriotic persons from the other ethnic groups, members of IPON have strong faith in the unity of Nigeria and a strong belief that we are stronger together and that we stand to gain more as one strong, united and indivisible entity as opposed to being fragmented into little statelets and micro-nations that are unable to take on the corporate vampires of the world.
“That said Mr President, we want to commend your recent engagements with our leaders from the south-east; while these interactions are described as coming late in some quarters, we see the very fact that they are taking place as a confirmation that you are a leader who respond to citizens’ demand. We believe that the promises made to our leaders during their recent meetings with you would begin to translate into actions and concrete results in the days ahead.
“We want to point out from our own side that the visit of our leaders to Your Excellency should eradicate any doubts as to where the loyalty and allegiance of Igbo people lie. We are resolutely behind your government even as we categorically affirm that we have no animosity towards state institutions. We cannot and must not be defined by a minority that is vocal and violent – the hatred advanced by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and their sympathizers is not Igbo and should not be used as a basis for defining us as a people. The other ethnic groups in the country, among who we co-habit as fellow Nigerians, attest daily to the humility and tolerant nature of the Igbo.
“These merchants of hate have strived to create the impression that the only presence the Federal Government have in Igboland is destructive even as they wrongly cast the Operation Python Dance II by the Nigerian Army as of such negative developments. Mr President, we of Igbo People for Nigeria want to report differently.
“It took the intervention of the Nigerian Army through its Operation Python Dance in 2016 to rid Igboland of kidnappers and bandits for many of us to again dare setting foot on our ancestral land after several years for fear of being robbed, abducted or killed by hoodlums. Prior to your administration, a lot of our sons and daughters travel all the way from abroad and stay in Lagos and Abuja to celebrate the Yuletide without daring to set foot on the soil of our towns and villages. Operation Python Dance (I) changed that last year as we again breathed fresh air in places of our birth.
“Unfortunately, crime has the tendency to mutate. Many of these criminals that were exposed and flushed out during the operation by the Army regrouped under IPOB in order to cash in on the agitation for fairer treatment of the Igbo. They again reintroduced kidnappings, robberies and assassinations, which we reliably gathered were sources of funding for their secession agitation. In addition to these violent crimes, they also raped women and extorted traders while intimidating the wider populace and disappearing anyone that refuses to join them or questions their excesses.