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Monday 22 February 2016



The new resolve by the Nigerian Army to relocate one of its command headquarters to Aba, Abia state to curb Pro-Biafra protests and activities is a tactical blunder and a complete waste of time and resources which will not yield the much needed result.
The news spread on Thursday, 18th February when the commanding officer of the 14 Brigade Ohafia, Brigadier General Lawrence Fejokwu, stated that the Nigerian Army has perfected plans to relocate one of its brigades and troops to Aba to stop the increasing but peaceful protests embarked upon by the Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and the Movement for the Actualization of the sovereign State of Biafra(MASSOB).
Citing his speech, Brigadier Fejokwu said: "I have gone around to familiarize myself with my location and men. My decision is that Aba have continued to be a hot spot especially on the activities of IPOB and MASSOB and the issue of kidnapping. To this effect, I have decided to, after due clearance with my boss, the GOC, to relocate our tactical headquarters from Ohafia to Aba to see how far we can go in arresting the situation".
"In doing so, I urge the IPOB and MASSOB to rescind their decision to bear arms and stop acts of violence, and channel their grievances to the appropriate authorities".
While I view the stance of the Brigadier and the Nigerian army as a whole, an effort in futility, I also view the decision as senseless, unconventional and the exposure of the height of incompetence and unprofessionalism endemic in the discharge of their duties.

The last time we heard about something like relocation of the Army Headquarters to any part of the country was when President Muhammadu Buhari shortly after his inauguration into office, played to the gallery by giving a hasty and unpopular order without historical precedence, that the Anti-insurgency Command and Control Centre of the Defence Headquarters Abuja, move to Maiduguri, Borno state to contain the rampaging Islamic sect terrorising the North-east region since 2009. However, the decision till date has not yielded much result in combating terrorism.
But in this case of moving their tactical headquarters to Aba, one wonders if the city is now Sambisa Forest or a front line war zone to warrant the decision. Are they relocating to hound and kill terrorists or just peaceful and unarmed protesters or are they just coming to sit and watch the whole show unfold? Would they continue to move their tactical base to any part of the country where there is a perceived growing unrest or are they also going to move their military command centers to Portharcourt, Onitsha and other cities where Pro-Biafra protests and activities had been recorded?. How many times has other countries including The United States of America move their strategic commands because it wants to engage in a war, talk more of unarmed and innocent civilians?.
If the Nigerian Army and Police are looking for kidnappers, what prevents them from executing that in a professional manner rather than erupting sheer wanton violence and causing peaceful protests turn bloody?.
What makes them feel that moving their tactical Headquarters to Aba is more important to a man in Benue and Borno states whose life and properties are under constant threat by the Fulani Herdsmen and the Boko Haram insurgency group respectively?.
Omibiga, a social commentator in one of the national dailies once said: "Fulani herdsmen have been terrorising my village for more than 5 years running, who has talked about relocating the Divisional Police Headquarters' Command and Control unit to my village? maybe we are not important".
It is quite ridiculous and shameful too that the Nigerian Army and Police would abandon their primary call to the service of safeguarding the lives and properties of citizens and resort to chasing shadows. The Boko Haram sect and Fulani herdsmen are there maiming, brutalizing and killing innocent members of the society and ravaging their lands while the Nigerian army and Police whose duty is to protect them prefers going after citizens exercising their legal rights to demonstration and self-determination. The Nigerian Army and Police has overtly made it known over the years that they are weak and useless in the face of terrorism perpetrated by the Boko Haram Islamist sect but very powerful, agile, gallant and tactful too in dealing with peaceful, unarmed and defenceless people.
On the other hand, it is also ridiculous that the Army Officer will appeal to pro-Biafra groups to halt their protests, upturn their decision to bear arms and to channel their grievances to the appropriate authorities while they are concluding plans of relocating to curtail their activities. Who and where is this so-called appropriate authorities, the one that prefers ignorance, the use of force and violence to peaceful protests and referendum?. And why would they renounce their decision to self-defence when it is apparent that the terrorising machine of the Nigerian security combined forces(JTF) have planned to obliterate them from the surface of the earth, always storming their protesting and picketing scenes, brandishing guns, live bullets and other deadly weapons, brazenly committing murderous crimes against them and afterwards feigns ignorance of the incidence or admit killing only two or three persons.

Even if they relocate the entire Army Headquarters to Aba, it is a welcome development as it would not deter citizens from protesting because gone are the days they use force and intimidation to subjugate people's fundamental rights for self-determination and demonstration. In order words, military intimidation, killings and suppression can not stop the agitation for the sovereign state of Biafra.
Protest is part and parcel of a 'working' democracy, the rights of people to peacefully assembly, associate and embark on protests are the ingredients and an integral part of a developed democracy which are also enshrined and recognized by the Nigerian constitution, African Union and United Nations Charters. And I hope the Brigadier inculcates this to his boss, the GOC.
Lastly, it is said that someone who makes democratic and diplomatic solution impossible, makes arm conflict inevitable. Any further act to mass murder and brutalize peaceful, unruffled and innocent Biafrans by the Nigerian security operatives could boomerang on them. Before another 3.5 million people dies again, surely, Biafra must be restored.

Written  By  Ucheagu Chukwuemeka C.
Edited  By  Ikechukwu  Nwaorisa

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