The Nigerian Army has announced the commencement of training exercises and operations across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria, as part of efforts to checkmate the activities of criminals and bandits.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, represented by the Chief of Training and Operations, Maj.-Gen. Enobong Udoh announced the exercises in a news conference on Tuesday in Abuja.
Buratai said the exercises include ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile 4 to be conducted in the South-South zone, Egwu Eke 4 in the South East and Ayem Akpatuma 2 in the North Central and parts of North West.
He said the exercises would be conducted concurrently in the geo-political zones from Nov. 1 to Dec. 23, to forestall the myriad of growing threats in the aforementioned zones.
According to him, these exercises will be conducted to consolidate on the gains of exercises AYEM AKPA TUMA 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 AKPA TUMA / in the North Central and parts of North-West states of Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi, Taraba, Kaduna and Niger states in 1 and 3 Divisions as well as in Headquarters Command Army Records, Guards Brigade and 707 Special Forces Brigade Area of Responsibilities.
“Exercise EGWU EKE 1V will be carried out in the South-Eastern part of Nigeria comprising, Abia, 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 Southwestern States including Akwa lbom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun and Rivers State in 2, 6, 81 and 82 Divisions’ Areas of Responsibility,” he said.
The army chief added that the recently launched ‘Operation Positive Identification in the North East theatre of operation would be extended to cover the entire nation.
He said 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.
According to him, the operation 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 army will also be involved in a range of Civil-Military Cooperation activities in diverse areas.
“It would be carried out through community outreaches such as free medical programmes, educational support activities, rehabilitation of identified dilapidated roads, hospitals, schools and old people’s homes in various selected communities in all geo-political zones.
“Additionally, the Nigerian Army Officers’ Wives Association, will visit and donate items to motherless babies’ homes and other identified disadvantaged groups in selected communities across the nation as part of efforts to provide succour for the needy during the period,” he added.
Buratai 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 added that a training day for the participation of all the security agencies in the states would be organised by the formations taking part in the exercises to further cement inter-agency relations among them.
According to him, the training day which will take place from Oct. 9 to Dec. 23 across the country has the theme, “Inter-agency Cooperation: Imperatives for Efficient Joint Operation”.
He enjoined the public not to panic on seeing an increased presence of military personnel and other security agencies as well as the movement of military vehicles and hardware.
“The Nigerian Army wishes to reassure the nation of her commitment and determination to secure the country, protect lives and property while also ensuring its troops remain professional and live up to its constitutional responsibilities.”