SWITZERLAND, OCTOBER 07 – Worried by incidents of kidnapping, banditry and other violent crimes threatening national security, the Nigerian Army will today commence operations across the thirty-six states of the federation, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
According to the army, the exercises, which will be conducted simultaneously in the six geo-political zones of the country, include Exercise Ayem Akpatuma 11; Egwu Eke 1V; as well as Crocodile Smile 1V.
It said 1, 3 Divisions, Headquarters, Command Army Records, Guards Brigade, and 707 Special Forces Brigade, would conduct Exercise Ayem Akpatuma II (to cover the North Central and parts of North West states of Benue, Nasarawa, Kogi and Taraba as well as Kaduna and Niger states); Egwu Eke 1V (South-East states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo), falls under the 82 Division area of responsibility, while the 2, 6, 81 and 82 Divisions undertake Crocodile Smile IV in the South-South and parts of South-West viz; Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Lagos, Ogun and Rivers states.
Also during the period, the army said a fresh North-East exercise tagged; “Operation Positive Identification,” would be extended across other zones.
The service hoped to use the exercise to isolate and arrest criminal elements that may be fleeing locations, or trying to establish roots anywhere in the country.
Accordingly, soldiers have since been instructed to “strictly check valid means of identification such as National Identification Card, Voters Registration Card, Drivers’ Licence and International Passports, or other valid official identification, before allowing such persons passage.”
While announcing the nationwide operation, Acting Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sagir Musa, said inter alia that; “In her spirited efforts to combat insecurity across the nation, the Nigerian Army (NA) is set to commence simultaneous routine training exercises in the various geo-political zones of Nigeria.”
The army, nonetheless, urged law-abiding citizens not to panic, as it had maintained that the operation was aimed at protecting lives and property, and by extension, sustaining the sovereignty of the nation.