The south east region has been involved in agitation to break away from the country over the past decades, a leftover of the agitation that led to the Nigerian Civil War in 1967.
Numerous separatist groups have accused the Nigerian government of discrimination against the region of the Igbo tribe, and demanded a referendum to create a separate nation of Biafra.
There has also been a recent resurgence of agitations in the south west for a breakaway nation made up of states in the Yoruba-speaking region.
President Buhari said in a statement on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 that those agitating to break up the country are too young to remember the horrors of the civil war that took place between 1967 and 1970.
“Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand. We are going to be very hard sooner than later,” he warned.
The government declared the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), a popular separatist group, a terrorist organisation in 2017 after numerous tense confrontations with the military that led to the exile of its leader, Nnamdi Kanu, who was on trial for treasonable felony.
The group’s creation of a paramilitary wing, the Eastern Security Network (ESN), has escalated tensions, as it has been blamed for the recent surge in violent attacks recorded in the region.
Operation Restore Peace will be carried out by operatives of the Police Force in collaboration with the Armed Forces, the intelligence community and other sister security agencies.