We’re ready to crush pro-Biafra revolt, says Army

A-cross-section-of-people-protesting-the-arrest-of-Radio-Biafra’s-director-in-Onitsha
A-cross-section-of-people-protesting-the-arrest-of-Radio-Biafra’s-director-in-Onitsha

The Nigerian Army, on Monday, warned pro-Biafra agitators that it was ready to suppress insurrection by any group across the country.

The army made it clear that it was prepared to check the activities of the secessionists, saying it would uphold its constitutional role of protecting the unity and integrity of the country.

The 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Enugu, gave the warning in an address on the activities of pro-Biafra demonstrators across cities in the South-South and the South-East geopolitical zones.

The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 82 Division Enugu, Col. Hamza Gambo, who read a statement on behalf of the General Officer Commanding, Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, during a press conference at the division’s headquarters in Enugu, noted that the ongoing protests had led to an increased sense of insecurity in the South-East and South-South.

The army spokesman further noted that although the pro-Biafra activists, like other Nigerians, have the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly, such rights should not undermine other people’s freedom and safety.

Gambo said the army would not shy away from its constitutional mandate to suppress insurrection, and aid civil authority, if called upon to do so as a result of the ongoing pro-Biafra agitation.

“The truism of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is not contestable particularly as it is guaranteed by sections 39 (1) and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended).

“Instructively, this constitutional guarantee does not allow for abuse of other person’s freedom and safety.

“It is, however, pertinent to note that the same constitution vide section 217 (2) mandates the Armed Forces of Nigeria to suppress insurrection and act in aid of civil authority to restore order when called upon to do so.”

Gambo assured that the army would act within it rules of engagement should it be required to check the activities of the pro-Biafra activists.

“To this end, if and when the Nigerian Army is called upon to play its legally mandated role, it shall do so with utmost sense of duty and responsibility to the nation.

“In such an instance, the Nigerian Army shall act within its rules of engagement accordingly. It is also important to reassure all law-abiding citizens that they have nothing to fear,” Gambo added.

According to him, “The Nigerian Army remains committed to protecting democratic norms while ensuring a peaceful environment for socio-economic activities to thrive.”

Gambo stressed that the ongoing agitation for Biafra was a threat to lives and property.

He said, “In the past three weeks, there has been a marked increase in the activities of pro-Biafra groups in some parts of the South-South and the South-East of Nigeria.

“These activities include protest marches, demonstrations and some reported cases of outright lawlessness and threat to lives and properties.

“These demonstrations are being orchestrated by the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra, the Indigenous People of Biafra and other affiliated groups.

“These agitations and protests have led to an increased sense of insecurity across the regions.”

Renewed agitation for Biafra, which was largely triggered by the detention of the leader of IPOB, and director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, had led to massive protests in major cities of the South-East and South-South.

The protesters are demanding the recognition of Biafra as a sovereign state and Kanu’s immediate release.

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