Source: The Nation
Dozens of armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and several platoons of armed soldiers of the Nigerian Army on Monday engaged in a show of force in the twin cities of Warri and Effurun as well as their environs.
Over 20 APCs and 500 soldiers are involved in the military excercise.
Although the Joint Task Force, which deployed soldiers, said it was to check Boko Haram and other threats to security, there were feelers that it was not unconnected with today’s nationwide strike by the labour and civil society groups.
NLC and other civil groups have threatened to shut down the nation unless the Federal Government revert to N65 per litre pump price for petrol.
The Nation gathered that the troops supported by APCs swept the length and breadth of the cities, ostensibly to scare protesters off the street.
The spokesperson of the Joint Task Force, Lieutenant Colonel Timothy Antigha, however maintained that the heavy presense of military personnel was not « necessarily because of the strike. »
Speaking in a telephone conversation with our correspondent, Antigha said the show of force was a routine military manouvre in line with prevailing security challenges in the country.
Hear him: « Strike or no strike we still would have done this. You are aware of recent happenings in the country, we just want to assure law-abiding citizens that the security of their lives and property is very high on the priority of the JTF. »
However, National Coordinator, Forum for human Rights Defence, Mr. Oghenejabor Ikimi said the troops deployment was to intimidate the NLC and other protesters.
By Shola O’neil and Wilson Egufe