Posted by News Express | 15 October 2017 | 1,513 times
Nigerian Army on Saturday allayed fears of the Niger Delta on the ongoing Operation Crocodile Smile II in Bayelsa State saying that the exercise was conceived to ward off criminals and protect the citizenry.
The new Army Brigade stationed in Yenagoa explained that the operation was to increase the combat readiness of the troops and increase their efficiency in the region.
The Commander, 16 Brigade Nigerian Army, Yenagoa, Brig.-General Kevin Aligbe said the Army began the operation with environmental sanitation and donation of medical equipment and drugs to hospitals.
Aligbe disabused the minds of the people about insinuations and suspicions that greeted the operation, saying there was no cause for alarm.
“Operation Crocodile Smile II is intended to increase the rhythm of our combat operations in the creeks and land-based activities.
“At the end of the day, the operational skills of all those participating will be sharpened and of course, we would have gained more mileage in our operational capabilities.
“This, of course, you know a lot resources have been committed to the operations to boost what we are doing and so what probably we would have covered in three months will be able to cover in just one month.
“So, the operation is going to increase the rhythm of our operations as well as the mileage we are going to attain in terms of our operational gains,” Aligbe said.
Aligbe, who led officers and men of the brigade to carry out environmental sanitation in Opolo area of Yenagoa Local Government, said the sanitation was one of the series of activities lined up for the operation.
He said aside from the routine activities in the creeks, rivulets and all land patrols, confidence building, the military had also decided to undertake some community relations activities.
He said such activities would cement civic military relationships between the Army and its immediate communities where they reside.
Aligbe urged Nigerians to take ownership of the Army and see the military as the pride of the nation.
After the sanitation, the Nigerian Army Brigade moved to the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, where the military organisation donated some drugs and equipment to the federal medical facility.
He said the donation was part of the medical missions of the Army within the context of its community relationship in their area of operations.
He debunked rumour that the Army was giving vaccines and carrying out immunisation at schools.
His explanation came amid rumour on Friday that the Army was vaccinating and immunising pupils, a development that led to parents and guardians withdrawing their children and wards in panic.
Aligbe said: “During our medical outreaches, we do not give vaccines, we do not do immunisation. We do basic medical checks and then offer medical materials to individuals that need them and it not by force.
“You will be surprised that in this time and age when you have social media that not even a shadow of the so-called people dressed in military uniform were caught on camera, especially with everybody having a cell phone that has camera on it.
“Not even one school, not anywhere the same message, the same rumour that was heard in other states.
“Unfortunately, the rumour was replicated here in Yenegoa on Friday and caused a lot of apprehension. But as leaders, we must stay on the path of truth in making sure that the services that is expected of us are delivered to the people.”
In his remarks, the FMC Public Relations Officer, Mr Bernard Akpedi, who received Aligbe and other Army officers on behalf of the hospital management, said they were highly elated to receive the medical items.
“As a Federal Government facility, we are highly elated to receive the medical items.
“We know very well that this is the beginning of better relationship with the Nigerian Army not just for the staff of this hospital but Bayelsa State in general,” Akpedi said.
•Operation Crocodile Smile troops
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