By Frank Oshanugor
As the South East part of the country has been embroiled in orgy of violence that has in recent days resulted in many deaths and destruction of police and public facilities, the Inspector-General of Police, (IGP) Usman Alkali Baba, has flagged-off a new special operational action plan code-named “OPERATION RP” for the stabilization of security order in the geopolitical zone of the country.
The police boss launched the special operation, on Tuesday at the Michael Okpara Square, Enugu as part of efforts targeted at returning the South-Eastern region to what he called “its historical pride of place where its people are known to be peaceful, tolerant, innovative, industrious and entrepreneurial.”
SECURITY REPORTERS.com gathered that the IGP had considered the special operation extremely necessary to engender all-inclusive security actions to roll-back the murderous attacks, violence, proliferation of weapons and other threats to law and order occasioned by the separatist agenda being heightened by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN) in the South-East region.
He had observed that activities of the group in the region have assumed an armed dimension in which important political and community leaders as well as personnel and assets of the Nigeria Police, Military and other security agencies, critical national infrastructure were being constantly targeted in clearly well-coordinated, premeditated manners.
This is in addition to deepening inter-ethnic prejudice and intolerance, unjustifiable inter-ethnic violence and counter-violence, loss of lives and massive destruction of properties.
Force spokesman, Frank Mba, a commissioner of Police quoted the IGP in a statement as appreciating the individual and collective efforts of all the South-East Governors and other critical stakeholders in the region towards supporting the Police in restoring security and strengthening national unity.
The police chief has assured the nation, that in the coming days the special operation will be extended to other parts of the South-East region to “confront criminal elements, take the battle to their doorsteps and re-order our cherished national values in the region” even as he further noted the need for the “Operation RP” to be replicated in other parts of the country, to address peculiar crimes including banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism, amongst others.
According to Mba, “the ‘Operation’ will be carried out by operatives of the Force in collaboration with the Armed Forces, the intelligence community and other sister security agencies.
“The personnel deployed have been charged to be civil with the law-abiding citizens, but firm and ruthless with criminal elements operating under any guise whatsoever who may attempt to test the collective will of the people.”
In his remarks, the host Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, commended the IGP for initiating the special operation. He described the operation as timely, and believed it will help in rejigging and re-tooling the security architecture of the South-East. Other dignitaries at the event were the Deputy Governors of Abia, Ebonyi and Imo States, traditional rulers, religious leaders, amongst others