The Nigerian Army has displayed many heavy military equipment, arms and ammunitions in Rivers State in a show of force with Nigerian Air Force (NAF) deploying more personnel for combat mission against militants as well as criminal elements in the Niger Delta region.
The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, in a statement sunday, said the “show of force”, is part of the activities lined up for the field training exercise, nicknamed ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’.
“Also …troops from 2 Brigade Nigerian Army at Port Harcourt conducting a show of force as part of the ongoing Exercise Crocodile Smile in their area of responsibility,” Usman stated.
In the same vein, he said that the troops of 2 Brigade, 82 Division, Nigerian Army, on Saturday touched the lives of over 500 people within Bille Community in Degema Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State with free medical outreach.
According to him, the free medical services featured consultation, diagnosis and eye care, blood pressure checks, free drugs, blood tests and counselling services.
He said: “A similar exercise was held at Nembe Ogbolomabiri and Bassambiri, Bayelsa State on the same day with impressive turnout. At all locations, the beneficiaries of the services expressed happiness with the outreach.
“The Brigade has further sensitize the communities on the impending military training exercise, Operation Crocodile Smile, enjoining them to go about their normal business as it is aimed at exercising the Troops in the Niger Delta region in amphibious operations.”
In a related development, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), Air Mshl Sadique Abubakar has disclosed the plan by the NAF to deploy additional personnel to the Niger Delta as part of the resolve to combat militancy and other forms of internal security challenges in the region.
Abubakar in a statement signed yesterday by the Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Group Captain Ayodele Famuyiwa, made the disclosure in Yenagoa while on operational visit to NAF Mobility Command.
According to him, the planned deployment is aimed at strengthening the existing NAF manpower disposition, especially in Bayelsa State, and to enhance their involvement in Operation Delta Safe.
He said that preparatory to this deployment, new facilities were recently put in place to cater for accommodation and other welfare needs of the personnel.
The Air Force chief listed the needed facilities to include the construction of new blocks of accommodation for officers and men, office accommodation, airmen mess, and provost squadron, which were commissioned recently.
He said that two of the airmen’s block of accommodation were named after Corporal Omaka VI and Aircraftman Ofonih EF, both of whom were killed recently in Bosso, Niger State during an Internal Security Operation.
Earlier, Abubakar had during the visit made a courtesy call on the Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Disckson who stated that “his administration is ready to partner with the NAF and other Security Agencies because the Government of Bayelsa understands the importance of security and the need for the State to be safe for economic prosperity”.
Dickson also promised, during the project commissioning ceremony, that his government would partner with the Air Force to build NAF Primary and Secondary Schools in the State to enable Bayelsans benefit from the quality education provided by them with a view to bringing about discipline and reorientation among youths in the State.
Meanwhile, Air Vice Marshal Larry Koinyan (rtd), who commissioned the newly constructed projects at NAF Base Yenagoa, lauded air force personnel for their courage and resounding successes brought about by the renewed vigour at ensuring peace and stability in the various theatres of operations across the country.