The Nigerian Army has claimed that the leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) Nnamdi Kanu was not in it’s custody and could not be held responsible for his whereabout. This was made known by the Director Defence Information, (DDI) Major Geneneral John Enenche, Speaking at a press briefing in Abuja, yesterday.
On the proscription of IPOB by the Federal Government and South East governors, Enenche noted that the statement he issued two weeks ago did not say “proscription” but a “warning” to the parents to warn their children, adding that due process was followed by the government before proscribing them as a terrorist organisation by a competent court.
“The military did not proscribe IPOB. Due process was followed to proscribe them. The job of the military was to diagnose security issues and warned the public of consequences and that is part of our media operations.
“We did our operations very well otherwise that weekend would have been the longest weekend in this country and we are also very careful in choosing our words and we know the law very well.”
“People had mindset and they were in a hurry to attack the military because of their mindset. Because of that, it is a pity to say that some people lost their reputation.”
On Operation Python Dance 11 in the South-east, Enenche said: “It is to enlighten them, educate them and make them aware about what the military has been doing and will continue to do.
“For your information, I was in that area and I served there 12 years ago. We have been carrying out several exercises in the same way with different code names; nothing like this came up. So, when they reflect on such things, it will encourage them.
“There were activities we carried out like medical outreaches; reaching out to the needs of people. The operation is not negative.”
Asked if the military would also launch another operation to tackle herdsmen and farmers clashes, which has led to brutal killings in many parts of the country, Enenche said there was no need for any special operation on the crisis, “given that the crisis is being handled by an ongoing operation.”
He maintained that the herdsmen and farmers conflict had already been tackled under “Operation Mesa.”
Enenche cautioned that there was the need to categorise “identified” herdsmen on one hand and “unidentified” herdsmen on another hand, and “let us not put to all of them together”.
On the claim that the country was being over militarized He said that “So, it is the military that would tell you the signs and symptoms of a security ailment because it is only a doctor that can tell you that somebody has cancer or malaria. Whatever another person is seeing they will not see it in military perspective.
“Other countries have passed through this, if you go into history, before getting to where they are as developed countries today. Like in China you see one policeman inside a car, you hardly see a military man outside and it depends on the developmental process and what you have passed through. That’s why in simple terms I will tell you that we are not alarmed at all,” he said.
Enenche added that the DHQ reaffirms its unalloyed loyalty of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
Reacting to a statement credited to the lawyer of Nnamdi Kanu, Mr Ifeanyi Ejioffor that the military personnel had the last contact with Kanu, they should therefore produce him.
“We are not moved by the press statement. The military doesn’t need to issue press statement, it is better to come to court and say so. Let them come and tell Nigerians where they kept Kanu. They are the ones that raided his house. Nigerians know the truth,” Ejioffor said.
Kanu is expected in court on 17th October, 2017 over alleged treason offences against the federal government.
The IPOB leader’s lawyer, Ifeanyi Ejiofor has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja against the Nigerian Army and the federal government, asking them to produce him, “taking cognizance of the fact that his disappearance was as a result of the invasion of his residence in Umuahia, Abia State.”