The security and welfare of the people should be the entire purpose of government. – Section 12 2b, 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
NO matter how one looks at a python, nothing about it recommends safety, comfort and the security that governments promise their people. With a dance, whatever style is attached to a python, deceit runs a full circle.
FANCIAL, theatrical, amusing as Operation Python Dance II may sound, there is no doubt that it is another round of efforts to extract a provocation from people in the South East, whether they are members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra or not. They do not also have to be of South East origins to face the extortions, harassments and humiliations that these occupations mean.
THOSE who have installed Operation Python Dance, now in its second edition, in the South East, know this. The targets of the dance also realise that the dance is not the typical magical feats that are performed with pythons, to admiration, most likely awe, of those who behold the huge snakes from a distance.
WE are not talking about a circus. The Python Dance is an annual military operation that is in its second year in the South East. It singles out this geo-political zone, already the most militalised zone, in peacetime, for an armada of security personnel, to join those in perpetual occupation of the area.
DEBATES about how dangerous a python is tend to be so academic, leaving impressions that are created that a python is a toy. It is neither poisonous nor venomous, you would be reminded. But, a python picks out its target and constricts it to death with its awesome engagement of muscles in stunts that resemble dances in their slickness, belying the agony of the victim.
THE South East has military and security outposts in almost every kilometre of its landscape. It is the theatre of the Python Dance, which the military launches with fanfare. Nigeria annually launches a broader version of its militarisation of the South East.
WHAT do they do? They do everything in their powers to intimidate the people. They do all they can to provoke them. Where all these fail, they do not need any reasons to arrest, detain, or beat them up. These torments momentarily cease after money has been extracted from the people.
VILLAGES, moreso, and cities suffer the same fate. People have to explain why they are on the streets, in search of their means of living. In a country that has made a monumental mess of having credible identifications for its citizens, they are asked for identifications, or ringed into any circumstance that is an opportunity to make money.
NO charges are required to detain anyone. No law operates in the domain of Python Dance. One is guilty until he proves his innocence.
IT may be convenient for the rest of Nigeria to say that the South East deserves what it is getting, but it would not take too long for other Nigerians to realise that injustice does not respect boundaries. The military clampdown on the South East diminishes the rest of Nigeria. It does not matter what anyone thinks he is achieving.
THE wasteful dispersal of resources that should have been deployed to the fighting of insurgents in the North East is another indication that Nigeria is in the final phases of refusing to search for its challenges, and resolve them.
INADEQUACY of resources is often cited as a reason for the limited sources of the military operations in the North East. The same resources are being wantonly spent in opening new flanks of confrontation to make the point that the South East can be subdued, treated less Nigerian than other parts, to the delight of warmongers, who seem disappointed, where instead of war, the South East has adopted non-violence in the quests that IPOB is pressing in its own way.
WHAT is the point of the increased military presence in the South East? Is it easier to heighten troops deployment than to address the issues that younger people in the South East are raising? Would more security presence in the South East solve the problems that distort visions, hamper ideas and, ultimately, militate against the development of Nigeria as a whole?
IS it better, easier, and more sustainable to use war against the South East to attend to challenges the zone? What are the prospects for a peaceful Nigeria with a militarised South East?
WITHOUT operation Python Dance, and its additional roadblocks, road accidents have increased on most of the roads in the South East, especially at night, when unlit obstacles on the roads have sent many to their graves. Nobody cares.
THE remaining months of the year mark more traffic to the South East, more stress on roads that have suffered from neglect for decades, and roadblocks that surface, wherever and in numbers the Police, Army, Immigrations, Customs, Civil Defence, NDLEA, NAFDAC, FRSC, determine.
WE are told that Python Dance is to save the South East from itself. The argument, which defies logic, is typical. How does imprisoning the South East save it? Save it from what? Are there no other parts of Nigeria where crimes take place? Where else in Nigeria are there security outlays in the manner that is witnessed in the South East?
DOES Section 14 2b of the Constitution exclude the South East? The Federal Government should lift the siege on the South East – it is sectional, discriminatory, unproductive, wasteful, and provocative.