In consonance with his vision which is – “To have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles”, the Chief of Army Staff(COAS) Nigerian Army (NA), Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai has flaged off a Command Post and Field Training Exercise code named Exercise CROCODILE SMILE 111 in 13 Brigade Area of Operational Responsibility – (Calabar, Cross River State).
In a statement issued by the Deputy Director Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Must, said the flag off ceremony was conducted at Ikang Forward Operation Base, Ikang, Bakassi Local Local Area of Cross Rivers State by His Excellency, the Governor of Cross Rivers State, Senator Professor Ben Ayade who was the Special Guest of Honour at the occasion.
In his remarks to flag off the exercise, Senator Ben Ayade, commended the professional disposition, commitment and forsight of the COAS especially on his choice of Bakassi general area as a launching pad for this important and timely exercise.
Governor Ayade posited that “the choice of Bakassi is good and thoughtful as there is massive movement of arms and ammunition as well as criminal activities such as sea piracy, kidnapping armed robbery going on in this axis. All these are connected to the activities of Cameroonian Ambazonian separatists which resulted in the proliferation of arms and crimes. I hope, this exercise, will effectively address these fundamental security challenges” he said.
He urged royal fathers in the state to cooperate with the Nigerian Army and other security agencies to ensure the success of the exercise which will last till the 22nd of November 2018..
According to him “I understand there are other aspects of the exercise that are intended to achieve excellent Civil-Military Cooperation. I wish to commend the NA for imbuing this exercise with projects that will profoundly impact on the people. I, therefore, urge the royal fathers to cooperate with NA as they are sincere in what they are here for”, he added.
Earlier in a keynote address delivered by the representative of the COAS, – the General Officer Commanding 82 Division NA, Major General Emmanuel Kabuk, stated that the exercise is a training period for the officers and soldiers of 13 Brigade.
According to him – “The exercise is primarily a 13 Brigade Command Post and Field Training exercises which will provide an opportunity for officers and soldiers of the Brigade as well as supporting elements from headquarters 82 Division to once again demonstrate their proficiency in the conduct of Internal Security Operations”.
General Kabuk further stated that Exercise CROCODILE SMILE 111 will be land and maritime based.
“The land operations will include mobile patrols, snap checkpoints, raids, road blocks, cordon and search and other operations that can enhance the achievement of the exercise objectives, while the maritime operations will address the security threats within the creeks of Cross Rivers State” he said.
He explained the objectives of the exercise to include training opportunities, ensuring peace and security in the state.
According to the COAS – “The objectives of Exercise CROCODILE SMILE 111 are to ensure peace and security in Cross Rivers State and the general Area of Responsibility covered by 13 Brigade. It is also to create a conducive environment for the 2019 General Elections”. “To this end, the conclusion of this exercise will kick-start Exercise PYTHON DANCE/EGWU EKE 111 which will be conducted by all formations and units of the NA across the nation in preparation for the 2019 General Elections”, he added.
All the Brigade Commanders in 82 Division Area of Responsibility, Service Commanders and Heads of Security Agencies in Cross Rivers State as well as Head of Bakassi Local Council Administration Mr Ekpenyong Esuabana and the Clan Head of Ikang Clan of Bakassi, his royal highness Etinyin – Effiong Kenneth Effiong were among the major dignitaries that attended the event.