Nigeria’s armed forces and paramilitary organizations have set a three-month target to end the menace of bandits and kidnappers in the North Central, South-South, South East and South West zones.
In separate military operations launched yesterday in Lagos, Oyo, Edo and Enugu States, the security chiefs at the events vowed to check all forms of criminality in the aforementioned zones.
In Enugu, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Faruk Yahaya, advised criminal elements in the country to surrender their arms and embrace peace or face serious security measures.
Yahaya spoke during the launch of three new security exercises for the various sections of the country.
The exercises are “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 (FCT).
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 October 4 to December 24, 2021, will create an enabling environment for socioeconomic activities to thrive in all regions in the country.
Earlier, Maj.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, said “Exercise Golden Dawn” would be used to improve civil military cooperation through the provision of boreholes, free medical outreaches and educational materials, amongst others.
Earlier, in a statement, the director of army public relations Brig Gen Onyema Nwachukwu said, “For all intents and purposes, it should be noted that these Field Training Exercises (FTEs) are routines conducted yearly by the Nigerian Army (NA) designed to effectively check all forms of criminality and allow for free movement of persons”
The 2 Division of the Nigerian Army also launched “Operation Still Waters” to tackle kidnapping and other security challenges in Edo, Kwara, Ondo, Osun, Ekiti and Oyo States.
Launching the exercise in Ibadan, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), Gold Chibuishi, 2 Division Nigerian Army, said, “The operation is conceived by the Army to boost troops’ ability to tackle the current security challenges in Nigeria.”
Chibuishi said the army would collaborate with other security agencies to address the security challenges in the states under the division.
In his remark, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State lauded the army for collaborating with other security agencies in tackling insecurity.
Makinde, who was represented by his chief of staff, Mr Segun Ogunwuyi, said the war against insecurity cannot be won without synergy among security agencies and the general public.
The Nigerian Army, 4 Brigade, Benin equally inaugurated the “Exercise Still Waters” to boost security in Edo.
The exercise was held at Ehor, the headquarters of Uhumwonde local government area.
The Brigade Commander, Brig-Gen. Sani Abdullahi, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the exercise was customarily conducted in the last quarter of every year under the auspices of the Army Headquarters.
Abdullahi said the exercise which was hitherto known as ”Exercise Crocodile Smile,” was hinged on combating kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism, farmers/herders’ clashes, child trafficking, communal crises, drug peddling as well as oil bunkering.
Also, the GOC 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj-Gen. Lawrence Fejokwu, said “Operation Still Water” will address insecurity during the festive periods in Lagos and Ogun States.
Fejokwu spoke at the inauguration of “Operation Still Water” at Digital Bridge Institute, Cappa, Oshodi, Lagos State.
“The exercise is an ember month programme, which we have conducted over the years since the days of ‘Python Dance’, ‘Crocodile Smile’, which has now been reviewed as ‘Still Water’.
“The whole idea of the exercise is for us to come out on the field to rehearse all we have been teaching ourselves in our various classrooms. It will serve as a rehearsal on how to tackle criminal elements which is what we do in our various classrooms and now we are bringing it down to the fields,” he said.
Also, the commander, 9 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Ikeja Cantonment, Brig-Gen. Lander Saraso, said the exercise was designed to prepare and plan the conduct of military operations, other than war, in a multi -agency setting.