By Ibrahim Mohammed
Authorities of the Nigerian Army have called on members of the public not to panic as its troops begin major exercises across the country on Wednesday with a view to consolidating on the gains of military operations against what it termed as ‘‘myriad of emergent threats’’ by bandits and other criminal elements.
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Lieutenant General Tukur Y. Buratai who stated this at a press briefing in Abuja, on Tuesday, added that the operations ‘‘will be conducted in conjunction with other security agencies to boost synergy and cooperation among the services and security agencies.’’
Buratai, represented by the Army Chief of Operations, Major General E.O. Udoh, said the ‘‘exercises will begin concurrently from October 9 to 23 December 2019 across the country,’’ resulting in an increased presence of military personnel and other security agencies as well as movement of military vehicles/hardware.
The exercises to be conducted according to him are: ‘‘Ayem Akpatuma II (Cat Race) in the North-Central and parts of North-Western states of Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Taraba, Kaduna, and Niger… .’’
Besides, ’’exercise Egwu Eke(Python Dance) IV will be carried out in South Eastern part of Nigeria comprising, Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi and Imo States…’’ while ‘‘exercise Crocodile Smile IV will be held across some states in the South-South and part of South-Western states including Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun and Rivers States… .‘’
‘‘In addition to exercises Ayem Akpatuma II, Egwu Eke IV and Crocodile Smile IV, Operation Positive Identification which is ongoing in the North-East theatre of operation will be to cover the entire nation. The operation will be directed at curtailing the movement of bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers, ethnic militia, cattle rustlers and other criminal elements to other relatively peaceful states to perpetrate their crimes.
‘‘Operation Positive Identification will run concurrently with these other routine exercise(s) during the period. In the same vein, the Nigerian Army Women Corps will be staging robust show of force/confidence building patrols in some selected locations across the country to compliment the efforts of troops and other security agencies as part of these exercises.
‘‘Therefore, in addition to our sister services and security agencies taking part in all the exercises, a Training Day that will draw the participation of all the security agencies in the states will be organized by all the formations taking part in the exercises. This will further serve to cement the excellent interagency relations … currently existing among security agencies. The theme of the training day is ‘‘Inter-agency Cooperation: Imperative for Efficient Joint Operations,’’ the army chief told reporters.
The army also used the briefing to commend state Governors commended for their immense support to the Nigerian Army towards actualizing ‘‘our constitutional mandate,’’ expressing the hope that ‘‘this partnership would continue to strengthen our joint resolve to rid the nation from criminal elements as well as enhance the safety and security of lives and property.’’
In order to consolidate on the existing Civil relations, the army said it will engage in a range of Civil Military Cooperation activities in diverse areas through community outreaches including free medical programmes, educational support activities, rehabilitation of identified dilapidated roads, hospitals and old people’s homes in various selected communities in all the geo-political zones
Furthermore, the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association will visit and make donation of items to motherless babies’ homes and other identified disadvantage groups in selected communities across the nation as part of efforts to provide succor to the needy during the period.