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The Nigerian Armed Forces have commenced training of personnel of security agencies in preparation for a massive military manoeuvre tagged EXERCISE CROCODILE SMILE 4, intended to caste an iron shield cordon on the country against criminal elements.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, speaking at the opening of the training session for military and para-military personnel participating in the training said that the exercise would be conducted with other security agencies.

General Buratai who was represented by the General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Major General Olu Irefin, noted that “the exercise, which will be concluded with the support of sister services and relevant security agencies and will include civil-military relations activities like medical and educational outreaches.”

Our correspondents learnt that the exercise was targeted at flushing out oil thieves, kidnappers, pipeline vandalism, illegal dealers of petroleum products and taking crude oil in such a way that it destroys the environment.

The training for military and para-military personnel, that will participate in the exercise, expected to start on November 8 and end on December 23 according to the top military hierarchy was to achieve operational readiness.

Declaring the training open at the 9 Brigade Officers Mess, Ikeja, Lagos, the Flag Officer Commanding, (FOC), Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, said that the exercise would include land and sea manoeuvres.

Daji, who was the special guest of honour, said that the essence of expanding the operation to include land and sea was that most criminal activities were planned and executed both on land and on water.

The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command said: “Similar exercises were conducted in the past years and this is therefore another opportunity to consolidate on the gains achieved in our internal security operations by clearing identified critical threats, particularly those along our waterways and hinterlands.

“The two basic objectives are training and operational objectives. The conduct of the exercise will feature aspects of civil-military cooperation, media, psychological operations, rules of engagement and the observance of international humanitarian law in the conduct of the joint operations.

“It is, therefore, my hope that the strategic end state of the exercise and training will achieve the theme of the training which is ‘inter-agency cooperation: imperatives for efficient joint operations.

“This will assist in carrying out the myriad of internal security responsibilities especially those that concern the protection of lives as well as critical national assets against warranted attacks and sabotage.”

He said the exercise had two basic objectives, which are the training and operational objectives, adding that “the training objective is to avail commanders and staff officers in the art of military decision-making process, staff liaison and conduct of riverine operations.

“It will also, avail troops on combat responsibilities in internal security operations and promote efficient joint operations in 81 Division Area of Responsibility (AOR).”

Daji explained that the exercise would feature aspects of Civil-Military cooperation, Media, Psychological operations, Rules of Engagement and the observance of International Humanitarian Law in the conduct of joint operations, adding “let me also stress here that the exercise will be supported by the Navy, Air Force, Police, DSS, and other security agencies in Lagos and Ogun states.

“It is, therefore, my hope that the strategy of the training and exercise will achieve the theme.

“I hope that it will assist in carrying out the myriad of internal security responsibilities, especially those that concern the protection of lives as well as critical national assets against attacks.”

Buratai further said: “This year’s exercise will be conducted across the South-West regions of Lagos and Ogun states.

“Part of the objectives of the exercise is to improve troops and relevant security agencies operational capacity as well as strengthen cooperation and synergy in tackling common security challenges confronting our nation.

“This training day with the theme ‘Inter-agency Cooperation: Imperative: for Efficient Joint Operations’ is therefore apt toward achieving the set goals.”

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