Exercise Crocodile Smile reaches Niger Delta creeks

Eme Offiong, Calabar

Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff has asked troops to comb hideouts and terrorists hotspots along the nation’s maritime domain.

Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai urged the officers and men to protect oil installations and maintain constant presence at the sea.

General Buratai gave the orders when he flagged off exercise Crocodile Smile at the Amphibious Training School, ATS, Calabar, Cross River State.

“You are expected to carry out effective patrols to all the likely hideouts of any criminal gang both on land and in the creeks…We must keep our country safe at all times. Even after the exercise, we must continue to maintain presence in all the trouble areas and hotspots,’’ General Buratai stated.

Enhance Training
To further boost the capacities of the military to function effectively in the region and underscore the importance of regular training, the Chief of Army Staff commissioned five new boats and equipment at the Amphibious Training School, Calabar, the state’s capital.

“Amphibious operations are very difficult and specialised. It requires special training and retraining; and as such the Amphibious Training School will receive all the necessary support it requires to perform. We are also fixing all the broken platforms and add more to enhance our operational capabilities in the riverine areas,” General Buratai explained.

He commended the officers and men of the Eight-two Division of the Nigerian Army for tackling the challenges of securing the maritime territory of Nigeria. The Eight-two Division covers the 13 Brigade and Amphibious Training School.

The Personnel of the 13 Brigade Nigerian Army Calabar were elated to welcome the Chief of Army Staff to their Barracks as they gave a brief demonstration of their commitment to Nigerians.

Though, he was unable to physically meet with traditional rulers of riverine communities in Cross River State, General Buratai solicited the cooperation of the people.

On partnership with other agencies, he said that the army was also working closely with other security outfits to tackle challenges on land, air and at sea.

Heavy Presence
The Cross River State Deputy Governor, Professor Ivara Esu played host to Lieutenant General Buratai and appealed for heavy military presence particularly at the Bakassi area due to increased activities of criminal gangs.

Professor Esu appreciated the Military for taking proactive measures to restore peace in the Niger Delta and north eastern regions.

The Chief of Army Staff left Calabar for Port Harcourt in Rivers State.

Mercy Chukwudiebere