The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, has advised criminal elements in the country to surrender their arms and embrace peace or face serious security measures.
Yahaya gave the advice on Monday in Enugu during the launch of three new security exercises for the various sections of the country.
The exercises include: “Golden Dawn” for the South-East; “Still Water” for the coastal areas and “Enduring Peace” for some states in the North Central and Federal Capital Territory.
He said the exercises, which would entail joint operations between the military and other sister security agencies, were designed to check all forms of criminality.
He said the operations would help to promote greater security for free movement of persons, following a build up in the end-of-year activities.
The COAS further said the operations meant field training exercises routinely conducted yearly to enhance troops’ combat proficiency.
According to him, the exercises, which will run from Oct. 4 to Dec. 24, will create an enabling environment for socioeconomic activities to thrive in all regions in the country.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari “for his unwavering commitment and support to the Nigerian Army and other sister security agencies in the country.
“We must be loyal and professional to justify the trust the president reposed in us all and the generous support from him to tackle all forms of criminality headlong with the dedication they deserve.
“I must commend the personnel of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in the South-East for their sacrifice and gallantry disposition to ensure peace and progress in the region, notwithstanding obvious challenges.
“We are also grateful to the state governors, council chairmen and other leaders in the country for their support and encouragement,” Yahaya said.
He appealed to residents to volunteer useful information on the activities of criminal elements in their neighbourhoods in order for the exercises to achieve their purpose.
He also urged members of the sister security agencies and militaty personnel to work as a team and bring out their various specialties to drive the overall success of the exercises.
“You should leverage their friendship and linkages with members of the public to provide real-time security information meant to checkmate activities of all sorts of criminal elements,” he said.
Earlier, Maj.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, the General Officer Commanding, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, said that Exercise Golden Dawn would be used to improve Civil Military Cooperation through the provision of boleholes, free medical outreaches and educational materials, amongst others.
Lagbaja said the exercise would reduce criminality in the South-East to the barest minimum.
“The unknown gunmen are advised to surrender their illegal arms or face the brutal force of the exercise,” he said.
He admonished residents of the Division’s Area of Responsibility to be law abiding and support Exercise Golden Dawn with necessary information.
“I assure them that troops for the exercise will display discipline and carry out the exercise within the ambit of the rules of engagement for internal security duties,” Lagbaja said.
Highlights of the event included the presentation of an official vehicle to the Regimental Sergeant Major of 82 Division by the COAS.
The other sister security agencies for the exercises included: Nigerian Air Force, Nigerian Navy, Nigeria Police, NSCDC, DSS, NDLEA, Nigerian Custom Services, FRSC and Nigerian Immigration Service, among others. (NAN)