By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
The training of an 800 man special force consisting of personnel of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Police, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Nigerian Immigration Service was on Tuesday flagged off in Cross River State to checkmate kidnappings, robbery, militancy among other crimes.
The month long training forms part of the Army’s ‘Operation Crocodile Smile. III.’
The Governor, Senator Ben Ayade while flagging of the exercise in Bakassi local government are said it will also reduce the proliferation of arms through the Cameroon border at Ikang community of that local government area.
Mr. Ayade commended the discipline displayed by the Army and called on security agencies to work in harmony with a view to bringing the security challenges across the country under control.
“As the 2019 general elections draw closer, I want to use this opportunity to warn politicians to desist from moving arms and sponsoring violence at polling units.
“As the Chief Security Officer of the state, I will work with security agencies to ensure that anyone caught is prosecuted,’’ he said.
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, represented by the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Major General Emmanuel Kabuk in his remarks, explained that the operation was a training exercise to help soldiers of the 13 Brigade horn their military capabilities.
According to him, the exercise was designed to include riverine and land operations with a view to monitoring the creeks by tackling insecurity.
He averred that: “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.”
However, he urged the soldiers to deal with criminals based on the rules of engagement.
The Commander, 13 Brigade, Brigadier General Charles Okulide, who disclosed the composition of the special force, pointed out that the initiative was to foster interagency relationship among security agencies in the state, thereby expressing confidence that the exercise will be hitch free.
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