- Security agencies including the army, air force, police and DSS commenced their Operation Show of Force exercise in Imo state on Monday
- A group, Imo People Action for Democracy (IPAD), claims the exercise was started to prevent them from carrying out a protest rally against the state government
- The state’s commissioner for police however stated that the allegation was untrue, as he disclosed that the exercise was carried out to assure citizens of the state of adequate security during the yuletide
The Nigerian army, air force, police joined the Nigeria Immigration Services, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Department of State Services, for the 'Operation Show of Force', which commenced on Monday, December 18, Punch reports.
The security operatives reportedly positioned themselves at major junctions in Owerri, the state capital, wielding guns, while others patrolled other parts of the metropolis.
NAIJ.com gathers that many residents were intimidated by their presence, with some even thinking that another Operation Python Dance had been started by the military.
However, the exercise was rejected by the Imo People Action for Democracy (IPAD), which claimed that it was orchestrated to disrupt their planned one-week-long protest tagged, ‘Occupy Imo,’ which was also scheduled to begin on Monday.
IPAD had planned its protest in order to register its displeasure against the Rochas Okorocha-led state government, over what it described as bad governance.
The group’s spokesman, Chilos Godsent, stated: “The Operation Show of Force was launched to forcefully disperse and maim members of the ‘Occupy Imo’ peaceful rally.”
However, his claims were denied by the state’s commissioner of police, Chris Ezike, who stated that the exercise was carried out to assure “Imo residents and those who will be coming home for the festive period that the police and all the security agencies are capable of providing security during and after the festivities.”
He continued: “We are going round the town to assure the people that we are capable of protecting them.
“We are equally identifying flash points and traffic points. Our aim is to ensure that people enjoy the Christmas and New Year celebrations.
“I had a meeting with the members of Imo People Action for Democracy in my office and we agreed that the rally should not hold during this festive period.
“Imo people have a right to enjoy the yuletide period. They should reapply from January 10 for a reconsideration.”
Meanwhile, NAIJ.com previously reported that the police gave reasons why its officers attacked protesters protesting against the government of Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state.
Andrew Enwerem, the spokesperson of the command, stated that the protesters did not have the permission to protest.
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