Prior to the commencement of the exercise, Sector One Commander of JTF, Colonel Alhassan Grema and Commander of 3rd Battalion, Nigerian Army, Effirun, Major Ahmed Abdulkadir had drilled the participating personnel and briefing on rules of engagement concerning the exercise.One of our correspondents observed that there was heavy traffic on Ada George Road in Port Harcourt at about 11am on Saturday as troops moved in armoured personnel carriers towards the AGIP junction.
The UPP candidate commended well-meaning Nigerians from other parts of the country who identified with the anniversary, including Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka and Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Father Matthew Hassan Kukah.
The militants, who spoke through the Niger Delta Peoples Democratic Front, said the heavy presence of soldiers in the area was unnecessary.
“The only advice we give to them is that although we did not expect them to go ahead with the exercise, they should be guided by their operational tenet and rules of engagement.
He called on the federal government to use the occasion to heal the wounds caused by the civil war on the Igbo by issuing an official regret. He noted that the fact that Igbos still hold unto the memories of the ugly incident of 50 years shows that there is dire need for genuine healing. A press statement signed by Viola Ifeyinwa Okolie, Director Media, Osita Chidoka Campaign organisation quoted Chidoka as saying, “We urge the military high command to release the report of its investigation on alleged abuses and violation of the rights of citizens by security officials involved in the widely-criticised Operation Python Dance in the southeast.Sylvester Idowu in Warri and David-Chyddy Eleke in Awka