OPERATION "PYTHON DANCE" ENDS, BUT SOLDIERS STAY ON
From Chuks Collins, Awka
The special anti-vice programme "Operation Python Dance" earlier inaugurated by the Nigerian Army in the South East geopolitical zone about a month ago, (Nov 27-Dec 27)aimed at curbing criminal activities in the area during the yuletide wounds up today, December 27,2016.
The Army deputy director, Public Relations, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, Col Sagir Musa, said the operation would officially end today, but that "...troops will still be massively around in the whole of South East to continue with patrols, road blocks and check points".
He credited the presence of the soldiers to the absence of any form of violent crime, kidnap or herds-farmers/villagers' clash within the period.
Hear him, "Nigeria’s South-East has not recorded incidence of armed robbery, kidnapping, cultism and associated violence as well as inter communal, herdsmen-farmers clashes during this Yuletide due to the on-going military exercise in the region tagged Operation Python Dance.
“These menace are and have been the focus and targets of this Exercise and have so far been effectively achieved",Musa stated.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC)82 Div, Major Gen Adamu Abubakar, had on Christmas Day visited Anambra cities of Awka, Ihiala, Okija, Agulu, and Nnobi communities to personally assess the conduct of troops on the exercise. He stated also that the GOC visited the Onitsha -Niger Bridge to assess the state of security and vehicular movements and was satisfied.
He said, "It would be recalled that traffic gridlock has for many years, especially during the yuletide been endemic on the Niger Bridge in both Asaba and Onitsha axis inflicting sufferings and other inconveniences to the road users.
“Hence, parts of the targets for the exercise is to checkmate the usual gridlock, chaos and insecurity at the Bridge.This objective has so far been achieved.
"Since the start of Exercise Python Dance, there has not been cases of gridlock and associated insecurity on the Asaba – Onitsha Bridge.
"The orderliness, the disposition of combined security personnel and the manner the general public conduct themselves especially the road users is commendable.”
He urged members of the public to remain security conscious and report any suspicious movements and persons to security agencies close to them.
Some residents of the commercial city of Onitsha and parts of the geo-political zone were uncomfortable and expressed deep discomfort over the Python Dance exercise when it was initially launched, arguing it was unnecessary in the 'peaceful zone'.
However, the military spokesman could not state precisely when the soldiers would go back to their barracks.