By Satara Patience John.
IGP Usman Alkali Baba
The Nigeria Police has flagged-off a Special Operational Action Plan, which is code named ‘Operation RP’ for the stabilization of the security order in the South East Geopolitical Zone of Nigeria.
Addressing participants at the event, the acting Inspector General of police in Nigeria, Usman Alkali Baba, acknowledged that the people of South Eastern Nigeria are historically known to be peaceful, tolerant, innovative, industrious and entrepreneurial, and have made their marks in the field of academics, scientific inventions and commerce.
Usman Alkali said that unfortunate events of late have altered this positive narrative of the people of the zone, noting that in recent years, increasing cases of kidnapping, armed robbery and communal violence has of late been laced with inter-ethnic intolerance and separatist agitation as championed by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its armed wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN).
“The separatist agenda of this group has 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 are being constantly targeted in clearly well-coordinated, premeditated violent attacks in the region. Aside this, the deepening inter-ethnic prejudice and intolerance in the region is also occasioning unjustifiable inter-ethnic violence and counter-violence. Apart from the massive loss of property and fatalities to lives, the violent campaigns are beginning to have damaging effect on the socio-economic development of the region.”
The IGP noted that the resort to terror tactics, disregard to constitutional processes and disrespect for democratic standards to advance their interests of creating an ungovernable space in the region informed the decision of the Federal Government to outlaw IPOB.
He further said; “The key factor in addressing the prevailing security threats in the South East is that we should as a people, be determined to build a consensus, partner in condemning any act of criminality, and resolve to work with the Police and other security agencies towards identifying, isolating and bringing the criminal elements within our communities to deserved justice.”
“The time is now. Today’s launch of ‘Operation RP’ by the Nigeria Police is aimed at this direction and it follows the directives of Mr. President to the Nigeria Police to re-evaluate and emplace new operational strategies to stem the tide of violence and secessionist agenda not only in the South East but across the country.”
“As the lead agency in the internal security framework of this country, the Nigeria Police under the current dispensation acknowledges that the duty of securing the lives and property of the citizens is its primary mandate. This responsibility imposes on us the obligation of upholding the dictates of the Constitution, restoring peace and order where they are threatened and protecting the citizens from any form of threats to their lives and values. The ‘Operation RP’, the launch of which we are witnessing today, was conceptualized to achieve these goals.”
“While we shall do all within our powers and means to achieve these tasks, we do acknowledge that we cannot do it alone. Indeed, no Police agency anywhere in the world, no matter how well-trained, equipped or motivated, can solely achieve its security and safety mandate without the support of the community. Consequently, we shall be collaborating closely with the Armed Forces, the intelligence community and other sister security agencies in this operation. In order to fully achieve the objects of this special operation we also solicit the full support of the civil populace, particularly, traditional rulers, religious leaders, youth associations, market bodies, cultural associations and professionals among others.”
Usman Alkali used the opportunity to specially appeal for the support and understanding of media practitioners across the print, electronic and the social media. While their roles in advancing the freedom of information principle is appreciated, patriotism and ethical values place an obligation on them to avoid sensational and unverified reportage on internal security operations.
Meanwhile, the launch of ‘Operation RP’ in Enugu is the first in the line of the police strategic Action Plan to restore peace across the country and in the coming days the special operation will be extended to other parts of the country to address peculiar crimes including banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery in other geopolitical Zones. The IGP noted.
It is to be emphasized that ‘Operation RP’ will cover all the States within the South East geopolitical zone.
Usman Baba expressed confidence that with the support of all strategic stakeholder, the operation will in due course, change the current security narratives in the zone for good
He also recognized the sacrifices that police personnel across all Commands in the South East have been making in furtherance to their resolve to sustain the unity of the country and restore peace and security in the South East.
To the police officers and men deployed on this special operation, the IGP charged them to see their deployment as a call to national duty.
Speaking at the event, the Governor of Enugu State, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi said that the operation was coming at the right time.
“Todays event could not have come at a better time than now giving the point of insecurity in the country. In the past week, we have been saddened by the spate of killings of security operatives in their line of duty as well as destruction of security infrastructure as well as other public institutions in Nigeria especially in the South East.”
It is our expectations that today’s event will herald the retooling of international security architecture in the South East geopolitical zone to bring it up to speed with emerging dimension of criminality.”