The leadership of the Nigerian Army, yesterday in Lagos declared that it would soon deploy troops to the South Eastern part of the country to quell the on-going protest and agitation for a sovereign State of Biafra.
Speaking to Defense Journalists in Lagos on Monday, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Isidore Henry Edet, also warned arrowheads of the protest to stop it or be ready to face the full wrath of the Nigerian Army.
“Therefore, the Nigerian Army would like to send an unequivocal warning to all and sundry, more specifically to all those threatening and agitating for the dismemberment of the country, committing treasonable felony and arson, as well as wanton destruction of lives and properties that once deployed, we shall apply the Rules of Engagement (ROE) to the letter.”
The Army chief stated however that, the Rules of Engagement (ROE) would be adhered to strictly by the Nigerian Military in an event of deployment of troops to the South East.
“In the ROE, once deployed on any Internal Security (IS) operation, it is the duty of an officer or soldier to ensure the enforcement of law and order in conjunction with other security agencies. Troops are duty bound to intervene in any situation to avoid a breakdown in peace, stability or law and order of an area where they are deployed.”
He added that it would be inexcusable for troops to stand aside, and watch the security situation deteriorate leading to loss of lives or damage to property without intervening. Such intervention should, however, be based strictly on sound judgment and within the ambit of the code of conduct for IS operations while exhibiting good professional ethnics.
The GOC 81Division, who enlightened the public of what ROE was all about, added further that the process include among others, the application of the principle minimum force and proportionality must be applied at all time.
“Whenever operational situation permits, every reasonable effort shall be made to control the situation through measures short of using force, including personal contact and negotiations. The use of lethal force shall only be resorted to is all other means to control the situation have failed or in case of unexpected attack or suspected Improvised Explosive Device (IED) attack during which a delay could lead to loss of life or serious injury to personnel.”
He also added that fire might be opened to forcefully stop any vehicle that fails to stop at a checkpoint or roadblock when ordered to stop for search. “However automatic fire will only be opened as a last resort,” the GOC stressed.
According to him, “the public is hereby informed that officers and soldiers have been warned not to take sides in any conflict and if found would face the consequences of their actions. Any officer or soldier found aiding or abetting any act of arson, vandalism or unprofessional conduct, would be severely dealt with according to the extant law.”
Recalls, there has been unprecedented and spontaneous protest in the street protests by persons under the auspices of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) agitating for sovereign state of Biafra. The worst hit part of the country of this protest is the South East axis, mostly the Igbo speaking part of Nigeria.
Biafra: Army Sets To Deploy Troops To South-East