By Chimezie Godfrey
The Nigerian Army has declared its readiness to conduct series of military exercises in order to checkmate the activities of criminals and bandits across the geo-political zones in the country.
The chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai made the declaration Tuesday at Abuja while briefing journalists on the Army forecast of events 2019.
Buratai disclosed that these exercises, which include Exercise Crocodile Smile 4, Exercise Egwu Eke 4 and Exercise Ayem-Akpatuma 2 would be conducted concurrently in the South-South, South-West, South-east and North-Central zones respectively from 1st of November to 23rd of December, 2019.
Represented by the Director of Operation Nigerian Army, E. O Udoh, he said that the exercise became necessary owing to the myriad of emergent threats that were happening in the mentioned geo-political zones of the country.
“As part of its constitutional roles, the Nigerian Army, acting in aid of civil authority, is poised to combating these threats.
“Essentially, these exercises will be conducted to consolidate on the gains of Exercise Ayem Akpatuma 1, Egwu-Eke 3, and Crocodile Smile 3 that were conducted last year at this same period.
“The exercise to be conducted are exercise Ayem Akpatuma 2, in the North-Central and parts of North- Western States of Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Taraba, Kaduna and Niger states in 1 and 3 divisions as well as in 1 and 3 divisions as well as in Headquarters Command Army Records, Guards Brigade and 707 Special Forces Brigade Area of Responsibilities.
“Exercise Egwe Eke 4, will be carried out in the South Eastern part of Nigerian comprising, Aba, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu, and Imo states in 82 Division AOR.
“Exercise Crocodile Smile IV will be held across some states in the South-South and part of the South-Western states including Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers State in 2, 6, 81 and 82 Divisions’ Areas of Responsibility,” Buratai said.
He disclosed that in addition to Exercises Ayem Akpatuma 2, Egwu Eke 4, and Crocodile Smile 4, operation Identification which is ongoing in the North East theatre of operation would be extended to cover the entire nation.
He added that the operation would 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 exercises 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 complement the efforts of troops and other security agencies as part of these exercises.
“In order to consolidate on the existing Civil-Military Relations, the Nigerian Army will also be involved in a rage of Civil military cooperation activities in diverse areas through community outreaches such as free-medical programmes and educational support activities.
“Others are rehabilitation of identified dilapidated roads, hospitals, schools and old people’s home in various selected communities in all geo-political zones,” he said.
Buratai further disclosed that the exercises would be conducted in conjunction with other security agencies to boost synergy and interagency cooperation among the services and security agencies.
He enjoined all Nigerians not to panic on seeing an increased presence of military personnel and other security agencies as well as movement of military vehicles/hardwares.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to reassure the nation of her commitment and determination to secure the country , protect lives and property while also its troops remain professional and live up to its constitutional responsibilities.
“Also, I will like to use this medium to thank the Executive Governors for their immense support to the Nigerian Army towards actualizing our constitutional mandates.
“It is our 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,” he said.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for his unflinching support to the Nigerian Army.
”I also want to pledge the unalloyed loyalty of the Nigerian Army to the civil authority .
“It is on this note that I declare open Exercise Ayem Akpatuma 2, Exercise Egwe Eke 4, and Exercise Crocodile Smile 2,” he concluded.