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Nigerian Army Warns MASSOB, IPOB Agitators; Threatens To Deploy Rules Of Engagement


By Ignatius Okpara, Enugu

Following the ongoing protests by the pro- Biafra groups, in some parts of South- east and South- South regions of the country, the Nigerian Army has warned that it will not hesitate to invoke its rules of engagement in order to protect Nigeria’s Constitution.

Deputy Director, Army Public Relations (DDAPR), 82 Division Enugu, Colonel Hamza Gambo, who briefed newsmen on behalf of the division’s General officer Commanding (GOC), Brigadier General Ibrahim Attahiru, condemned recent protests by the pro-Biafran groups.

He warned them to stop further unlawful conduct or face the wrath of the law.

According to him, “in the past three weeks, there has been a marked increase in the activities of pro-Biafran groups in some parts of the South-South and the South-East of Nigeria.

“These activities include protest marches, demonstration and some reported cases of outright lawlessness and threat to lives and properties.

“These demonstrations are being orchestrated by the Movement for the Actualization of Sovereign State of Biafra and the Independent People of Biafra, (IPOB) and other affiliated groups.

“These agitations and protests have led to an increased sense of insecurity across the regions”, Brigadier Attahiru related.

On human rights of the agitators he said “The truism of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly is not contestable, particularly as it is guaranteed by Section 39 (1) and 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as amended.”

The 82 Division Spokesmen added “instructively, this constitutional guarantee does not allow for abuse of other person’s freedom and safety.

“It is, however, pertinent to note that same constitution vide Section 217 (2) mandates the Armed Forces of Nigeria to suppress insurrection and act in aid of Civil Authority to restore order when called upon to do so.

“To this end, if and when the Nigerian Army is called upon to play its legally mandated role, it shall do so with utmost sense of duty and responsibility to the nation.

“In such instance, the Nigerian Army shall act within its Rules of Engagement accordingly.

“It is also important to re-assure all law-abiding citizens that they have nothing to fear.

“The Nigerian Army remains committed to protecting democratic norms while ensuring a peaceful environment for socio-economic activities” Gambo stated.

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