The Nigerian Army has changed one of its 'memorable' code names from Python Dance (Egwu Eke) to Dance of Peace (Atilogwu Udo).

In 2016, 'Python Dance' was given to the military operation covering parts of the Southeast and South-south. 

‘Python Dance’ was designed to combat a spate of kidnappings, armed robbery, cult and communal clashes, among other sundry crimes, bedeviling the Southeast region of the country in particular. 

Python Dance and controversy

At inception, ‘Python Dance’ ran into controversial waters when soldiers from the unit were accused of raiding and destroying the Abia home of separatist leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

Nnamdi Kanu in Idoma attire as he called for the creation of a Biafra Republic  circa 2016 (Punch)
Nnamdi Kanu in Idoma attire as he called for the creation of a Biafra Republic circa 2016 (Punch)

Kanu and his parents fled Nigeria soon after and nothing was heard of the secessionist for a year.

'Python Dance' soldiers were also accused of human rights violations and excessive use of force.

The dance of peace

In a statement issued by the Operations Media Coordinator of the Nigerian Army, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, the army says ‘Python Dance’ has now run its course.

The army however says all information relating to the exercise as contained in previous press statements and press conferences issued by Army Headquarters, remains unchanged.

“The Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Yusufu Buratai wishes to reiterate the commitment of the Nigerian Army in protecting the lives and properties of citizens particularly during these ember months and the fast-approaching Yuletide season.

Army Chief Tukur Buratai with President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari (Presidency)
Army Chief Tukur Buratai with President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Muhammadu Buhari (Presidency)
AFP

“He also wishes to further solicit the support and understanding of all well-meaning Nigerians towards providing a well-secured environment for all and sundry,'' the statement added.

Operation Atilogwu Udo (Dance of Peace) is an Igbo coinage like the one before it. 

Dance of Peace will cover Nigeria’s Southeast and South-south regions as well; and is designed to assist the police in keeping the peace among the civilian population.