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OODUA People’s Congress (OPC) on Thursday condemned the militarisation of some part of the East under Operation Python Dance, in the obvious attempt to arrest the growing influence of the Nnamdi Kanu led Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), urging that dialogue rather than military option should be employed in resolving the issues at stake.
OPC said this in Lagos, in a statement signed by its Publicity Secretary, Yinka Oguntimehin, copy of which was made available to the Nigerian Tribune, contending that the agitation of IPOB would be fruitfully addressed through dialogue rather than the military option being adopted by the Federal Government.
OPC said it did not believe there was any security threat in Umuahia, the Abia State capital and its environs to warrant the deployment of soldiers to intimidate and molest innocent Nigerians who were going about their lawful business.
The Yoruba group urged the Federal Government to be careful in handling the IPOB issue, adding that any agitation that had been able to attract international sympathy and support like that of IPOB should be handled with utmost care and high degree of diplomacy.
According to OPC, the implication of the Military presence in the East and North East at the same time naturally sends signal of Civil War in the country to the International Community, warning that such development would discourage investors, especially now that the country was assumed to have survived recession.
The OPC argued that history does not favour Military suppression of agitating groups, citing the case of Odi where MEND surfaced strongly and serious damage was done to the nation’s economy even after the President Olusegun Obasanjo led Federal Government was supposed to have successfully muscled the South South community to silence.
It recalled that oil supply was forced down to 750 barrels per day from its usual 2.5million barrels as a result of MEND’s activities, adding that profitable oil activities only picked in the Niger Delta after the late President Umaru Yar’dua- led government successfully dialogued with MEND.
Warning against the implication of the Military attack on IPOB and Umuahia leading to the killing of many, the OPC said urged that “all efforts must be made to guide jealously the hard-earned democracy which individuals and groups fought hard to enthrone.”
The OPC said the nation’s democracy was daily being threatened by sundry issues, such as injustice, insecurity and the poor economy, noting that those problems could naturally be resolved without bloodletting if the Federal Government could be sincere enough to take the best possible option of restructuring the country.
Re-iterating its call for the restructuring of the country along regional line, the OPC said the Federal Government should take conscious effort to ensure that the incessant bloodletting in the country was arrested instead of aiding it through unnecessary militarisation of the country like was being done in the South East.
It, therefore, submitted that the recent happenings in Abia between soldiers and members of the public had underscored the urgency to reconsider the necessity of Operation Python Dance 2.