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In an unprecedented move, the Nigerian Army will put nation on military lockdown between now and February, 28, 2019 in a maneuver termed “Exercise Egwu Eke” or Operation Python Dance III.

In an unprecedented move, the Nigerian Army will put nation on military lockdown between now and February, 28, 2019 in a maneuver termed “Exercise Egwu Eke” or Operation Python Dance III.

Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, disclosed in Maiduguri on Friday, December 28, 2018 that it is meant to tackle “challenge coupled with other security threats across the country, such as terrorism, militancy, kidnapping and banditry”
The Army says the nationwide Exercise Python Dance III is to take the “success” of this operation (which was deployed in the South-East in 2016 and 2017) to all states of the Federation during this period of campaigns and elections to secure the country from those allegedly planning violence.
Most well-meaning Nigerians who value the level our democracy had developed to as at 2015 would be dismayed by this sudden resort to the miltarisation of our living space. We are worried that the military is becoming ever more visible in the conduct of our normal civic affairs. We wonder why the Army is increasingly taking over the routine jobs of the Nigerian Police, which is to co
The declaration of nationwide “Operation Python Dance” is the usurpation of police work by the Army when there are subsisting military challenges posed by the Boko Haram and the Zamfara bandits.
On the other hand, news broke recently of plans by the Police to deploy 2,000 of its mobile officers to fight Boko Haram after a training exercise, during which it was reported that at least 167 officers absconded.
We do not understand or accept the rationale behind giving police work in the Army and deploying the police to perform Army duties at the war front.
Beyond the oddity of these military and police deployments, this nationwide “Operation Python Dance” could send the wrong signals over President Muhammadu Buhari regime's intentions on the forthcoming elections. There are widespread fears that these deployments could be used to compromise the fidelity of the elections.
These fears are justified by the fact that the President has kept the service Chiefs in office in spite of the ever-increasing security challenges since they were appointed in 2015. The brazen partisan roles of some military and security operatives in the Ekiti and Osun gubernatorial elections, which were condemned by the array of election observers, are still vivid in the mind.
We call on President Buhari to demilitarize this campaign period and deploy the Police and other security agencies to tackle identified security threats in line with their constitutional duties.
The Army should focus their efforts in defeating Boko Haram, the bandits of Zamfara and the rampaging armed herdsmen.
The campaigns and elections should be conducted in an atmosphere devoid of fear and martial intimidation.

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