The Nigerian Army; Operation Crocodile Smile III was inaugurated yesterday by the Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade to check, militancy, armed robbery, and kidnapping
The Governor said it was necessary to maintain order and peace during the 2019 elections and the annual Calabar carnival.
He also explained that the exercise was aimed at reducing the smuggling of arms via the Cameroon border at Ikang in Bakassi.
The governor emphasized the necessity of the operation and made it clear that the Army had remained professional and disciplined in the discharge of their constitutional duties.
He also called on all security agencies to work in unity and harmony in order to bring the security challenges facing the country to check.
He also discouraged politicians from moving arms and sponsoring violence in polling units in the upcoming 2019 general elections.
“As the Chief Security Officer of the state, I will work with security agencies to ensure that anyone caught is prosecuted,’’ he said.
Lt. General. Tukur Buratai, the Nigeria Chief of Army Staff stated that the operation was a training exercise to enable the Army to enhance internal security operations.
Maj. Gen. Emmanuel Kabuk, the General Officer Commanding 82 Division representing The COAS, Enugu, said the operation would enable the soldiers of 13 Brigade to enhance and further develop their military capabilities.
“This exercise has been designed to enable officers and soldiers of 13 Brigade to show their proficiency in internal security.
“The land operation will be conducted to check armed robbery, communal clashes, stop and search of vehicles among others.
“The riverine operation will equally help us to check the activities of militancy and kidnapping of personalities across the creeks.
“In addition to the exercise, we will also carry out medical outreach in host communities and schools.
“As we do this, it will also help us to maintain peace and order and create a conducive environment as we approach the 2019 general elections,’’ he said.
He urged the soldiers to adhere strictly to the rules of engagement while engaging criminals.
Brig.-Gen. Charles Okulide, The Commander of 13 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Calabar said that the participants of the one-month long exercise include 800 security personnel drawn from the Police, Army, Civil Defence, Immigration and Nigeria Security
Okulide said the initiative was established to promote inter-agency relationship among security agencies in the state, he went on to express his confidence in the exercise that it would be successful and hitch free.
He also commended the laudable efforts made by the Brigade towards curbing terrible criminals and crime in the state and the sustained contribution of other security agencies.