The Ebonyi state government has declared support for the ongoing Nigerian Army exercise – ‘Egwu Eke’, Python Dance II, in the south east zone, NAN reports.
The state governor, David Umahi, declared support for the campaign when he received the chief of army staff, Lt.Gen. Tukur Buratai.
He, however, urged the army to keep to its rules of engagement.
Voice of Ndigbo gathers that the governor was represented by his deputy, Dr. Kelechi Igwu.
He noted that there was misconception of the exercise by some people in the region.
He said that the first phase of the exercise, which took place in the zone between November and December 2016, recorded success without any reported case of human rights abuse or molestation.
“We support the army; we support the exercise, but please dance by the rules of engagement; dance in the bush, not in the street,’’ the governor said.
On the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafa (IPOB), Umahi condemned the activities of the group, saying “we do not address perceived injustice through violence’’.
The governor said the state was enjoying relative peace in terms of security. He called for army establishment of army formations in the border between Ebonyi and Cross River, to address recurring communal clashes in the area.
Earlier, the army chief restated that the exercise was designed to sharpen the skills of personnel to be able to deal with internal security issues.
Buratai stressed that Egwu Eke was carefully planned in the interest of the South East and not targeted at any group, saying that security was “key to development’’.
“We assure you that our troops will abide by rules of engagement and code of conduct,’’ he said.
He said that alongside the exercise, the army would render humanitarian services such as medical outreach and sanitation in various communities in the region and urged the people to show understanding.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army’s 82nd Division provided free medical services in Abakaliki Local Government Area, Ebonyi state, as part of the ongoing Operation Python Dance campaign.
The military personnel which included doctors, nurses and other staff, diagnosed ailments and dispensed medications free of charge to patients.