By Emeka Mamah

ENUGU——The Nigerian Army has said that it scuttled an attempt by Fulani herdsmen to attack Ukpata in Uzo Uwani Local Government Area of Enugu State, just as it had made some harvests of criminals and their ammunition since the beginning of Operation Python Dance Exercise II (Egwu Eke II), in the South-East zone on September 15.

Army on Operation Python Dance

Altogether, the Army said that about 42 criminals including armed robbers, kidnappers and cultists were arrested along with nine guns, one jack knife, 439 rounds of various calibres of ammunition and some quantities of Indian hemp in Abia, Anambra and Obinze and Ohaji/Egbema in Imo State, among others. These were contained in several press releases to update people of the zone by the Deputy Director, Public Relations, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Col Sagir Musa.

Musa also said that the military had, apart from dealing with emerging security challenges, including violent agitations and insurgency, herdsmen clashes, cultism peculiar to the zone, including kidnapping, armed robbery and communal crises among others, engaged in medical outreaches to communities as well as other humanitarian activities.

Essence of the exercise

He said, “On Friday, September 15, 2017 in 82 Division area of responsibility, simultaneous activities started in Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Cross River states without hitch. The essence of the exercise is to enhance troops’ preparedness and proficiency in dealing with emerging security challenges peculiar to the South-Eastern region, such as kidnappings, armed robbery, communal crisis, farmers-herdsmen clashes, cultism, violent agitations and insurgency, among others.

“Following credible intelligence report and some distress calls from Ukpata community in Uzo-Uwani LGA of Enugu State of a planned attack on the community by Fulani herdsmen on September 19, 2017, a patrol team of Sector 3 was deployed in the area from September 17, 2017 to date. Through that, we were able to prevent serious clash between the Fulani herdsmen and the community.

“Also, following a tip off, a criminal hideout was raided at about 12.15 am in Obinze community general area on September 17, 2017. Consequently, 17 suspected criminals were apprehended by troops of Sector 4. Items recovered include three locally made pistols, five dane guns and 15 rounds of various calibers of ammunition. Other items recovered were local charms and 7 wraps of substance suspected to be Indian hemp.

“At about 1.30am on September 17, 2017, troops of Sector 4 in conjunction with the Nigeria Police raided a criminal den at Ukukwa (sic) North Local Government Area of Anambra State, where they arrested seven suspected criminals. Items recovered are; four locally made pistols, 420 live cartridges, about 50kg of cannabis and some charms. The suspects and the items were handed over to the Nigeria Police.

“One interesting aspect of the exercise is that, it is multi-agency in nature and execution, thus enhancing synergy of efforts among the services, security and response agencies. Relevant para-military organisations such as the Nigeria Police Force, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Department of State Services, Federal Road Safety Commission, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency and Nigerian Immigration Service are all synergizing and collaborating in the exercise to ensure attainment of these objectives.

“Similarly, there are elaborate humanitarian activities associated with it, hence, the 82 Division Nigerian Army embarked on free medical services. The first was on Tuesday, September 18, 2017 at the Adult Education Mass Literacy Centre, Nkwoagu Primary School Amagu, Abakaliki Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General TY Buratai, accompanied by the Deputy Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Eric Kelechi Igwe, the General Officer Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army, Major-General Adamu Baba Abubakar and the Chief of Training and Operations, Army Headquarters, Major-General David Ahmadu and other senior Army officers, were personally present at the commencement of the free medical outreach.

“The turnout was impressive, as over 2,000 people benefited in the areas of dental, optometry, laboratory services and blood pressure measurements. “Others were dispensing of eye glasses, de-worming tablets, assorted drugs, mosquito nets and sanitizer to various categories of people.

In the same vein, similar medical outreach will be conducted at Nnarambia Community Central Primary School, Ahiara Mbaise in Ahiazu Mbaise LGA of Imo State on September 23, 2017 as part of the activities of Exercise Egwu Eke II. The Division has also scheduled similar free medical outreaches in other states covering its area of responsibility during the exercise.

“So far, the troops have been carrying out routine activities associated with the exercise seamlessly along with other supporting services and agencies. Some suspected criminals were arrested, farmers-herdsmen as well as communal clashes have been averted. Similarly, kidnappers, cultists, armed robbers and other criminal elements have been denied freedom of action through patrols, raids and manning of checkpoints as follows:

Patrols/ raids: “Similarly, at about 4.30pm on September 17, 2017, troops of Sector 2 on patrol at Ohaji-Egbema general area, along Obokofia-Agwa, Rombe-Oguta road junction in Imo State, intercepted two persons in a vehicle conveying about 15kg of a substance suspected to be Indian hemp. The suspects and the substance have been handed over to the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.

Also troops of Sector 2, Sub- Sector 1, at about 12.00am September 19, 2017, while on patrol along Onitsha-Owerri road arrested three suspected hoodlums; Chisom Francis, Chukwu Enema and Uchenna Ogataku that barricaded the highway, extorting money and other valuables from hapless motorists resulting in serious traffic jam. The suspects have been handed over to Ogbaku Police Station.

“Similarly, based on intelligence, troops of Sector 2, at about 12.00am hours on September 18,2017, conducted two raid operations on suspected cultists’ shrines at Awara and Assa communities of Ohaji-Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State. The raids resulted in the arrest of 10 suspected cult members. They were however, transferred to the Nigeria Police after preliminary investigation.

“In addition, at about 2.30am on September 19, 2017, troops of Sector 1, raided a notorious kidnappers’ den at Ohanze community in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State. The operation led to the release of a kidnap victim, Mr. Monday Benson and the arrest of three suspected kidnappers; Arinze Ugiri, 39, from Amouvuro community, Okezie Nwobolo, 30, from Amouvuro Nteuzor community and Michael Sunday, 24, from Okeyan Nteuzor village of Abia State. Suspects have also been handed over to the Nigeria Police after initial questioning.” Two robbery suspects said to be terrorizing travellers on Aba-Umuahia expressway, close to old toll gate location were arrested at Aba while three members of the group are at large.”

Checkmating violent activities of the banned Indigenious People Of Biafra, IPOB.

“Despite the initial opposition to Exercise Egwu Eke II by the outlawed IPOB members and their sympathizers and unpatriotic elements, the general area of the South-East especially Aba, in Abia State is now fully stabilised.

The usual violent activities of the outlawed  Biafra National Guards  (manning check points and extorting money from traders and motorists) have now been checkmated. Similarly, the outlawed Biafra group presence is no longer visible and people go about their normal businesses without fear, let or hindrance.

“The 82 Division Nigerian Army wishes to reassure the public that it is poised to maintaining the peace and security in the entire South-Eastern Region. Members of the public are please requested to cooperate with security agencies by remaining law abiding and passing credible information to the nearest security check point or call 193 and the various Sector Commanders’ telephone numbers that were earlier made public.

Exercise Egwu Eke II free medical outreach extends to Nnarambia Ahiara Community in Imo State: “The General Officer Commanding, GOC, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Major-General Adamu Baba Abubakar has in line with the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai’s directive, ordered the provision of free medical services to be extended to the people of Nnarambia community, Ahiara Mbaise in Ahiazu Mbaise Local Government Area of Imo State and Ovim in Isuikwuato Local Government Area of Abia State.

Similarly, the same medical outreach was carried out at Ozegu Inyi community in Oji River LGA of Enugu State on Tuesday, September 26, 2017 between 8:00 am and 5:00 pm at Ozegu Inyi Community Primary School. The medical outreach programme is part of the activities lined up for Exercise Egwu Eke II, for the entire South-Eastern states geared towards gaining the support and understanding of the locals to what the exercise is all about.

This will further consolidate on the existing cordial relationship between the Nigerian Army and the civil populace in the state. A team of doctors, nurses and other medical attendants/staff from the 82 Division Medical Hospital and Services were handy to provide immediate medical support and services in dental, laboratory, optometry areas, blood pressure measurement, among others.

Medical support

“Similarly, free medicines, drugs, eye glasses and mosquito nets were provided. Also children of various ages were dewormed as was generously provided in Amagu community in Abakaliki LGA of Ebonyi State. The GOC flagged off the Free Medical Outreach in the areas indicated.

Supervision: Commanders and staff officers visit Exercise Egwu Eke II: “As part of the requirement and in line with the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lieutenant General TY Buratai’s directive, various Corps and other Formations Commanders as well Defence and Army Headquarters Staff Officers have been visiting the Exercise Egwu Eke II locations and deployments across 82 Division area of responsibility covering the five states of the South-East geo-political region and part of Cross River State. Some of these visitors included the Defence Headquarters Team led by Air Commodore RN Shammah who visited 144 Battalion locations on Saturday September 23, 2017.

“Similarly, the Director of Operations Army Headquarters Brigadier General JGK Myam and Commander 44 Division Engineers Brigade, Brigadier General MM Mamman, separately visited the Operational Headquarters of Sub Sector Bravo of Sector 1, (144 Battalion location) Ex EGWU EKE 11 at Ngwa High School, Osisioma Local Government Area of Abia State.”

“In the same vein, the General Officer Commanding 1 Division Nigerian Army, Major General A Oyebade along with the Acting Commander, Nigerian Army Ordnance Corps, Brigadier General JI Unuigbe visited 144 Battalion location on Sunday 24th September 2017, where they were briefed by the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel AU Usman. Thereafter, they were conducted round Aba and Umuahia in Abia State for an on-the-spot assessment of troops deployments and dispositions.

“Similarly, the Commander Training and Doctrine Command, Nigerian Army, Major General RO Yusuf and Corps Commander of Nigerian Army Engineers, Major General OO Adeleke today Monday 25th September 2017, visited Sector 5 Operational Headquarters located at 24 Field Engineer Regiment Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. They were briefed at the Information Centre and the Operation Room on the Sector’s activities during the exercise.

“Generally, the situation in the entire South East has been calm, as there was no reported breakdown of law and order anywhere in the region. Contrary to earlier insinuations, troops have been conducting themselves professionally to the admiration of all.


“The GOC, 82 Division, Major General Adamu Abubakar on September 25, 2017 delivered key note address and a lecture at a-two day Enugu State Emergency Management Agency Critical Stakeholders Forum, at the Nike Lake Resort Hotel, Abakpa Nike, Enugu, Enugu State. The forum comprised of heads of military and para military organizations in the state, National Emergency Management Agency and the staff of the State’s Management Agency. Others were the local government chairmen and representatives of local and international Non-Governmental Organizations such as the WHO, UNICEF, NCC and representatives from the business community.

“In a lecture titled “Addressing Contemporary Challenges to Effective Disaster Management in Nigeria: The Role of the Nigerian Army,” the GOC emphasized the necessity for cooperation, collaboration and coordination between civilian and military actors during an emergency situation, noting that, although, disaster management is a secondary mission for the military, the inherent capabilities of the Nigerian Army like speedy and heavy buildup of logistics, manpower, security for emergency workers and their equipment will be of immense value to contemporary disaster management agencies…

“In a related development, the Director of Training at the Army Headquarters, Brigadier General Ali Keffi and the Director of Operations Army Headquarters, Brigadier General JGK Myam were in 103 Battalion location on September 27, 2017 to assess the ongoing Exercise in the Battalions’ Area of Responsibility.”

Meanwhile, the GOC, 82 Division has embarked on a show of Force//Confidence Building in Aba and environs. The GOC of the Division, Maj. Gen Abubakar visited 14 Brigade Operational Headquarters in Umuahia on Tuesday October 3, 2017, where he addressed the troops and commended them for their selfless services to the nation and urged them to continue to respect the rights of others while discharging their duties.

Similarly, on Wednesday 4, October 2017, the GOC was in Sub Sector 2, (144 Bn) location at Ngwa High School, Aba where he was briefed further on the state of the exercise before he was conducted round some hitherto volatile areas in Aba, alongside with the Commander, 14 Brigade, Brigadier General AK Ibrahim, by the Commanding Officer Lt Col. A Usman, where he addressed settlers and urged them to live in peace and harmony with their hosts.

“I am in Aba to oversee the ongoing Exercise and to assure you that law and order has been restored in Aba and the entire Abia State…so, everyone should continue to come in and out of the State to do his legitimate business.

“Generally, movement around the city of Aba revealed that law and order has been restored and people are carrying out their normal businesses without fear,” he said.


Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.