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Insecurity: Ag. IGP launches `Operation restore peace’ in South-East

The acting Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr. Usman Baba, has launched `Operation restore peace’’ in the South-East to help stem the rising spate of insecurity in the zone.

In a speech at the event in Enugu on Tuesday, Baba said the initiative was part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives to the police to re-evaluate and evolve new operational strategies.

According to him, it will stem the tide of violence and secessionist agenda not only in the southeast but other zones of the country.

“There must come a time in the life of a nation when we, as a people, must strengthen our will, and resolve to mobilise and deploy all our assets towards confronting these criminal elements.

“Taking the battle to their doorsteps and making a clear statement that the few deviants within us cannot and will not re-order our cherished national values,’’ Baba said.

He said the southeast had in recent years been witnessing increasing cases of kidnapping, armed robbery and communal violence.

“This trend has of late been laced with inter-ethnic intolerance and separatist agitation championed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network,” he said.

The police boss regretted that the IPOB’s separatist agenda had assumed an armed dimension, with important political and community leaders, personnel and assets of security agencies “being constantly targeted in clearly well-coordinated, premeditated violent attacks”.

“Aside this, the deepening inter-ethnic prejudice and intolerance in the region is also occasioning unjustifiable inter-ethnic violence and counter-violence.

“Apart from the massive loss of property and fatalities, the violent campaigns are beginning to have damaging effect on the socio-economic development of the region,’’ Baba said.

He charged the operatives selected for the operation to restore peace, respect people’s right and be professional in the discharge of their duties.

He called on the people, political and community leaders to cooperate and support the operation to succeed in the interest of peace, security and safety of all.

Earlier, Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of the state said the operation was timely, following recent developments and increase in the level of crime and criminality within the zone.

“This operation cannot come at a better time than now with the heightened insecurity in the zone and other parts of the country.

“It is hoped that the operation will help to rejig the security architecture of the southeast and restore lasting peace,’’ Ugwuanyi said.

He assured the IGP of the cooperation and continuous support of his government to the police and other security agencies in the state.

Also, the Deputy IGP in-charge of the zone, Mr. Joseph Egbunike, applauded the acting IGP for coming out with the initiative.

Egbunike, who is also the Theatre Commander of the operation, promised that the team would return and restore peace and “create the environment of safety for all’’.

“My IG sir, you do not need to worry. We have enough able and capable officers and men on ground to discharge this operation and get the needed result,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was attended by Commissioners of Police and deputy governors from the southeast states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo. (NAN)

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