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The Niger Delta Revolutionary Council has condemned the actions of the army in Abia State, calling the force’s Operation Python Dance II operations an “onslaught” that is “provocative, lacks tact and emotional intelligence, is capable of igniting a civil war” and amounts to a “militarisation of our hard earned democracy.”
In a strongly worded statement signed by its leaders, the pressure group said that it was “very unfortunate that in a democracy, where the military should be confined to their barracks and where the police force should be used to quell civil unrest, the President and commander in chief of the armed forces, and former military head of state, Muhammadu Buhari, has decided against all rationality to send in troops to Abia State, which before their arrival was as peaceful as any other Nigerian state and even more peaceful than the Boko Haram ravaged North Eastern States which are most in need of military intervention.”
The group said that the “complexity and emotional nature of the agitation of Nigerians in the South East calling for a referendum on their planned secession under the auspices of IPOB” was a justified call rooted in the “massive political, economic, and infrastructural underdevelopment and marginalization of the South East since the Nigerian Civil War ended in 1970”.
The statement criticised President Buhari, which it describes as “a major actor in the events leading to the civil war and after the civil war,” and being in the best position to appreciate the concerns of the region for deciding “to instead stoke the fire which has unwittingly led to the death of tens of Nigerians in Abia and neighboring states, and has also led to reprisal attacks.”
The statement read in part: “We call on the Igbos in Abia and every place else who are being incited by their own military to hold their peace and give the government no reason to continue to mow them down like trees.
“We condemn in strong terms the use of violence which has spilled over to some Niger Delta border communities, and has resulted in the loss of life, breach of a very fragile peace, and destruction of properties, most especially Oyigbo in Rivers State.
“As much as we believe every group within Nigeria has a right to self-determination, the people of the Niger-Delta which comprise of Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Edo, Akwa Ibom and Cross River wish not to be drawn into this particular conflict. We condemn the inhumane and murderous actions of men of the Nigerian army on the very citizens who they swore an oath to protect with their own lives.”
The group said it will seek for the intervention of the United Nations, the regional Economic Community of West African States, the African Union and world leaders, including US President Donald Trump “whose country is a major source of arms used by the Nigerian military” to sanction the Nigerian government.