By Omeiza Ajayi & Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA—The two major political parties in the country, the All Progressives Congress, APC and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, yesterday called for restraint in the crisis which has resulted from Operation Python Dance launched by the military in the South East Monday, which culminated in the clashes between the military and members of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, in Abia State.
While APC urged the military to follow rules of engagement in their operations, following attack on members of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Abia State chapter, PDP, called for dialogue between the military and IPOB.
APC in a statement signed by the spokesman, Bolaji Abdullahi, in Abuja yesterday, said: “The party also regrets the incident at the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, Secretariat in Umuahia, Abia State capital, where some journalists were assaulted. Commendably, the Nigerian Army has tendered its apology and is investigating the matter.
“While the Party insist that security agencies must adhere with globally-stipulated rules of engagements and laws governing their operations, we must allow our security agencies to conduct their constitutional roles of securing lives and property without hindrance and provocation.
The party urged citizens, social commentators, media influencers and other stakeholders to be careful and mindful of their utterances on the clashes.
“Stoking tensions by inciting utterances, hate speech and all other forms of awful propaganda will only push the country to the precipice.
“When we see the devastation of the country’s North East by Boko Haram, the 1966 Nigerian civil war and similar conflicts in other countries, we are reminded of the effects of internal strife.
“We must not yield to elements beating the drumbeats of war. We owe the peace and unity of our dear country to the present and unborn generations.
‘’We must speak and stand up for peaceful coexistence on our social media platforms, places of worship and all other public spaces we belong to.
“On the backdrop of recent agitations and actions which have the potential of undermining the unity of our country and our relationship across religious and ethnic divides, the party cautions that we must ensure that such agitations are peaceful and lawful.
‘’The party reiterates its belief that it is in our collective interest to support and remain steadfast to the cause of a united Nigeria,’’ the party said.
On its part, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, called for caution and restraint in the handling the crisis.
The party in a statement National Publicity Secretary, Prince Dayo Adeyeye, said the rights of a people to freely express their yearnings were provided for in the laws of the land.
“The party notes that while it is committed to the continued corporate existence of Nigeria as one indivisible country, it at the same time, acknowledges and respects the rights of the people anywhere to express their yearnings and aspirations within the confines of the laws of the land.
“The PDP states that at this time that tempers seem to be flaring up, dialogue, rather than violence, is the only viable option to resolve whatever problems are on ground in the South-East zone and indeed the entire country,” the statement read,
The party noted that the country could not afford to descend into anarchy in any constituent at a time the country was facing challenges.
Earlier, Chairman of the National Caretaker Committee of the PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi said: “What the country needs at this time is an atmosphere of peace and tranquility, without which no meaningful positive development in whatever sector can be attained, and the situation unfolding in the South-East, which is a very important component of the Nigerian family, is no doubt, inimical to our collective quest to take Nigeria