By Joseph Erunke – Abuja
Operation Python Dance, otherwise known as Operation Egwu Eke in Ibo Language, which was launched at the wake of heightened tension in the South East following activities of the now outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, was Wednesday rechristened Operation Atilogwu, meaning Operation Dance for Peace in similar language.
The army which announced the change in the operation’s nomenclature, through the media coordinator of the operation, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, however, did not state the reason for the action.
The operation, designated for southeast and South-South, according to the Nigerian Army, begins on November 1. It is expected to address the current insecurity being experienced in the two neighbouring geopolitical zones.
The army’s action, Vanguard gathered, may not be unconnected with opposition trailing its planned relaunch of the operation in the regions, considered by most citizens as peace.
Some have not only criticised the service and described ts action as a misplaced priority but also tasked the service to redirect its mission to the North East and North West geopolitical zones which they argued, were still being held strongly by Boko Haram terrorists and armed bandits respectively.
The development has caused governments at both federal and state levels to spend hundreds of billions of naira.
The statement by the Nigerian Army announcing the change in name of the operation, read thus: “The authorities of the Nigerian Army wish to inform the general public of the change of name of one of its annual training exercises code-named, “Exercise EGWU EKE” to ‘Exercise Atilogwu Udo.
“The annual training exercise commenced in 2016 and has consistently recorded remarkable successes since its introduction.
“The Exercise, which covers the South East region of the country, is designed to combat criminal activities including kidnappings, armed robbery, inter-cult and communal clashes among other sundry crimes.
“All other information relatives to the Exercise as contained in the previous Press Statement and Press Conference issued by the Army Headquarters remain unchanged”.
“The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai wishes to reiterate the commitment of the Nigerian Army in protecting lives and properties of citizens particularly during these ember months and the fast-approaching Yuletide season.
“He also wishes to further solicit the support and understanding of all well-meaning Nigerians towards providing a well-secured environment for all and sundry”.