Armoured Patrol Vehicle on Patrol
The Nigerian Armed Forces are set to commence its yearly military exercises in the Niger Delta region code-named ‘Operation crocodile Smile’ anytime from now. The exercise which is billed to start on Saturday is undergoing preliminaries and logistics preparation prior to its commencement.
Large Military hardware is already being transported from different armories to the three states of Ondo, Edo and Delta States. It was disclosed to newsmen that the large caches of weaponry being transported across various states to the Niger Delta region is causing panic and apprehension among the residents of such states especially those in the Niger Delta.
The apprehension has therefore forced the military high command to issue a statement allaying the fears of the residents of the affected states and enjoining them not to panic at the sight of a large movement of personnel and heavy equipment. Speaking in Benin City, the Edo State capital, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, Fourth Brigade, Nigerian Army, Benin Captain Mohammed Maidawa said: ”the operation is a training and operations exercise aim at curbing criminality in the region”.
Speaking further on the necessity of the military drills he stated that “it is designed to enhance the combat skills of soldiers and to create an enabling platform that will promote the relationship between military and citizens across the affected states”.
The army spokesman listed some of the activities that are billed to be undertaken by the military which will have positive effect on the society to include free medical outreaches, quick impact projects, environmental sanitation and donation of educational materials to various schools among other community related events so as to promote military-civil relationship in the affected states.
Chief Clark Oppose “Operation Crocodile Smile”
The Military spokesman also disabused the minds of the residents of affected states where the military exercises are being misconceived as a confrontational operation against the people of the Niger Delta, insisting rather that it was a friendly and positive programme designed to benefit the people. He assured the residents that the military was not out to fight anybody or groups in the Niger Delta Region.
It would be recalled that the Nigerian Military recently concluded a similar military exercises codenamed “Operation Python Dance” in the South Eastern part of the country in which many people sympathetic to IPOB, a separatist group agitating for a separate country to be carved out of Nigeria known as Biafra was believed to have been killed and brutally assaulted by the rampaging military who hid under a harmless military exercises to perpetuate the horror.
It was based on the news of the atrocities caused in the south-east that persuaded many prominent elders from the Niger Delta to reject the coming of the same military to the region for another military exercise. The elders of the region had in a communiqué issued when the news of the impending exercises was broken insisted that the Niger Delta people were not interested in smiling with the crocodile but rather they crave for good roads and development.