The police on Tuesday launched a new, special operation designed to restore peace to the Southeast. This is following several attacks on police formations and other government facilities recently in the region.
The police said the insecurity situation has been “heightened by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).”
Attending a launch ceremony of the operation, codenamed ‘Operation RP, at the Michael Okpara Square in Enugu, the acting Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, said it will return the South-East “to its historical pride of place where its people are known to be peaceful, tolerant, innovative, industrious and entrepreneurial.”
According to a statement signed by police spokesman, Frank Mba, the IGP “observed that activities of the group (IPOB and ESN) in the region have assumed an armed dimension in which important political and community leaders as well as personnel and assets of the Nigeria Police, Military and other security agencies, critical national infrastructure are being constantly targeted in clearly well-coordinated, premeditated manners.
“This is in addition to deepening inter-ethnic prejudices and intolerance, unjustifiable inter-ethnic violence and counter-violence, loss of lives and massive destruction of properties.
“The IGP, while appreciating the individual and collective efforts of all the South-East Governors and other critical stakeholders in the region towards supporting the Police in restoring security and strengthening national unity, assured the nation, that in the coming days the special operation will be extended to other parts of the South-East region to confront criminal elements, take the battle to their doorsteps and re-order our cherished national values in the region.
“The IGP further noted that the “Operation RP” will be replicated in other parts of the country, to address peculiar crimes including banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism, amongst others.”
According to the police, “the ‘Operation’ will be carried out by operatives of the Force in collaboration with the Armed Forces, the intelligence community and other sister security agencies.
“The personnel deployed have been charged to be civil with the law-abiding citizens, but firm and ruthless with criminal elements operating under any guise whatsoever, who may attempt to test the collective will of the people.”
In his remarks at the launch event, Enugu State Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, commended the IGP for initiating the special operation. He described the operation as timely, and believes it will help in rejigging and re-tooling the security architecture of the South-East, Mba’s statement said.
Other dignitaries at the event were; the Deputy Governors of Abia, Ebonyi and Imo States, traditional rulers, religious leaders, amongst others.
The statement added that the “IGP thanked the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces for approving the special operation and providing the support needed to fully achieve the objects of the special operation.
“He solicits the full support of the civil populace, particularly, traditional rulers, religious leaders, youth associations, market bodies, cultural associations and professionals etc, expressing his belief that with the support of all strategic stakeholders, the operation will in due course, change the current security narratives in the Southeastern region for good.”