The chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai says the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) did not declare the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist organisation but only pronounced the group as a terrorist organisation.
The Army had inaugurated Operation Python Dance II in the Southeast which met strong resistance, especially from members of IPOB; the Senate President and other stakeholders in the country.
It could be recalled that the clash between IPOB members and the Nigerian Army led the Defence Headquarters to release a statement saying, “…the Armed Forces of Nigeria wish to confirm to the general public that IPOB from all intent, plan and purpose as analysed, is a militant terrorist organisation,”.
However, speaking at the official launch of Operation Python Dance II in Abakaliki on Monday evening, Buratai said the pronouncement was in no way a declaration.
He said, “You have to get it very clear. First of all, what the Defence Headquarters did was to make a pronouncement. It wasn’t a declaration. But this has given room for the right step to be taken. I think the government is doing the right thing,”.
“It is not that we are overstepping our bounds. We are still within the limits. And I ensure you that what the military said was to set the ball rolling and to bring the awareness to the public that this is what this organisation is all about. I’m happy that the government has done the right thing right now.”