Gov. Hope Uzodimma of Imo has flagged off the “Exercise Golden Dawn”, an initiative of the Nigerian Armed Forces, to stem the tide of insecurity in the state.
The governor performed the flag-off at the 34 Artillery Brigade Forward Operation Base in Orlu Local Government Area of the state on Wednesday.
Speaking at the event, Uzodimma said that the exercise which would be carried out for three months would help restore sanity in the state ahead of the yuletide.
He commended security agencies in the state for their vision in creating the Centre to address the peculiar nature of the security situation in the South-East zone and Imo in particular.
He thanked the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya, and all officers and soldiers of the 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, near Owerri for their sacrifices in ensuring a peaceful Imo.
He urged security agencies to continue consolidating the gains so far made in curbing the activities of criminals and pledged his support for the agencies.
According to him, the exercise would create an enabling environment for people to go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestation.
“This is a special period and season in the lives of the people of the South-East who are predominantly Christians coming back for the celebration of Christmas which usually lasts from October to December.
“This exercise will go a long way in improving the security situation in our geo-political zone, giving our people a sense of security and encouraging our brothers and sisters who are resident abroad to come home without fear,” he said.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Commander, 34 Artillery Brigade, Obinze, Brig.-Gen. Utsaha explained that all security agencies were involved in the exercise.
He said that the exercise was meant to “build on the gains so far recorded over the menace of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) and its Eastern Security Network (ESN)”.
He informed that troops involved in the exercise would be quartered at Orlu for the rest of the year to ensure that socio-economic activities in the area and Imo in general would continue to take place unhindered.
Highlights of the event were the governor’s inspection of the guard-of-honour and tour of the Super Camp where he was briefed at the Information Centre and Operations room respectively.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was attended by the Commandant, Nigerian Navy College of Finance and Logistics, Owerrinta, in Abia, Navy Captain N. U Bugaje.
Also in attendance were the Commander, 211 Quick Response Group of the Nigerian Air Force, Owerri, Group Capt. Idowu Ayo, the Imo Commissioner of Police, CP Hussein Rabiu, and heads of other security agencies in the state. (NAN)