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Army ready to quell treasonable protests – GOC

The 81 Division of the Nigerian Army in Lagos has described the ongoing protests for a sovereign state of Biafra by some agitators in the…

The 81 Division of the Nigerian Army in Lagos has described the ongoing protests for a sovereign state of Biafra by some agitators in the South-east of the country as a treasonable act.
It has therefore warned that it would waste no time in quelling such protests by any group or groups of persons, especially in Lagos and Ogun States.
The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 81 Division, Major-General Isidore Edet, gave the warning yesterday at a news conference in Lagos where he read out the army’s rules of engagement for internal security operations. He warned that the military would not wait for the police to be overwhelmed before performing its supporting duties in internal security, adding that if deployed, the military would follow the rules of engagement to the letter.
He dismissed fears of any pro-Biafra protests in the South-west, and re-assured residents of the region of their safety and security from Boko Haram and any other terrorist groups.
“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 property that once deployed, we shall apply the ROE (Rules of Engagement) to the letter.
“It is however hoped that such circumstances would not arise, that we should be deployed on such operations, because let nobody make any mistake, within the ambit of the law, we shall apply the ROE to the fullest. Any officer or soldier found aiding or abating any act such as vandalism or unprofessional conduct will be severely dealt with according to extant laws”, he said.
Major-General Edet said Section 217 of the constitution empowers the army to suppress insurrection and act in aid of civil authority to restore order when called upon to do so by the President and Commander-in-Chief, stressing that in the event of such calling, the troops would apply necessary force to quell the crisis if the need arises.
He warned troops engaged in Operation MESA and other internal security operations to adhere to the ROE, noting that there were limitations under which armed force (fire arms) may be applied to achieve military objectives in such operations.
He noted that several Boko Haram suspects had been arrested in the past few months, adding that most of the insurgents had lost the will to fight and were fleeing the North-east.
“We have been arresting suspected Boko Haram leaders and their foot soldiers. We have been working with other security agencies and a lot of them have been arrested this past month. I cannot give you the details on that but most of them are in detention and are being investigated. I just want residents of Lagos and Ogun states to know that they are safe. They should go about their normal lawful duties,” he said.

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