By Uche Amunike
The Chief of Army Staff, (COAS), Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, has asked criminals in the country to surrender every arm in their possession and embrace peace, otherwise face serious consequences from security operatives.
Yahaya gave this charge during the launch of three new security exercises that will cover the various sections of the country in Enugu on Monday.
The Military Exercises are: ‘Golden dawn’ for the South East, ‘Still Water’ for the coastal areas and ‘Enduring Peace’ for some states in the North-Central and Federal Capital Territory.
He explained that the exercises were designed to check all forms of criminality and will entail joint operations between the military and other sister security agencies in order to help promote greater security for free movement of people, following a build-up in the end-of-year activities.
He further explained that these operations involved field training exercise routinely conducted yearly to enhance the combat proficiency of troops.
These exercises he said will run between 4th October and 24th December and will create an enabling environment for social economic activities to thrive in all zones in the country.
He went on to thank president Muhammadu Buhari for his unwavering commitment and support to the Nigerian army and other sister security agencies in the country.
His words: “We must be loyal and professional to justify the trust the president reposed in us all and the generous support from him to tackle all forms of criminality headlong with the dedication they deserve.’
“I must commend the personnel of the Nigerian Army and other security agencies in the South-east for their sacrifice and gallantry disposition to ensure peace and progress in the region, notwithstanding obvious challenges.
“We are also grateful to the state governors, council chairmen and other leaders in the country for their support and encouragement,” Mr Yahaya said.
He made a call to residents to volunteer useful information and the activities of criminals in their neighborhoods so that the exercises will be used to achieve their purpose.
He also encouraged the members of the sister security agencies and military personnel to perform their tasks with one accord as teamwork will bring out their various specialties to drive the overall success of the exercises.
He asked them to leverage their friendship and linkages with members of the public to provide real security information designed to checkmate activities of all sorts of criminal elements.
The General Officer Commanding, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, Major General Taoreed Lagbaja had earlier said that Exercise Golden Dawn will be used to improve civil-military cooperation through the provision of boreholes, free medical outreach and educational materials among others, expantiating that the exercise would reduce criminality in the South East to the barest minimum.
He reiterated that the unknown gunmen are advised to surrender their illegal arms or face the brutal force of the exercise and admonished residents of the Division’s Area of Responsibility to abide by the law and support Exercise Golden Dawn with every necessary information.
He also gave the assurance that troops for the exercise will work with discipline and carry out their duties within the ambit of the rules of engagement for internal security duties.
Highlights of the event included the presentation of an official vehicle to the Regimental Sergeant Major of 82 Division by the Chief of Army Staff.
Other sister security agencies to take part in the exercise include: the Nigerian AIR FORCE, Nigerian NAVY, Nigerian Police Force, NSCDC, DSS, NDLEA, Nigerian Custom Services, FRSC and Nigerian Immigration Service, among others.