The Bayelsa government on Saturday lent its support to the ongoing military training operation and its community relations component by the Nigerian Army in the Niger Delta.
Gov. Seriake Dickson urged the people of the state to discountenance the rumour that the exercise, christened ‘Operation Crocodile Smile II’, which includes free medical care, would endanger the health and safety of the people.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Francis Agbo in Yenagoa, Dickson made the call while receiving a letter of commendation from the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai.
Dickson, who described the rumour as unfounded, urged Nigerians not to panic, rather cooperate with the military in discharging its medical outreach and community support initiatives.
Reiterating his administration’s commitment toward sustaining the prevailing peace, security and stability in the state, Dickson assured the Nigerian Army and other security agencies of greater support in the discharge of their constitutional duties.
He explained that the state government had donated a large expanse of land for the building of a barrack in Yenagoa and a Forward Operations Base at the western senatorial district to enhance security.
“The military and other security agencies are a force for good and I want to use this opportunity to call on community leaders to continue to support the military.
“We can’t have a Nigerian military that is coming here to inject people with poisonous substances.
“That is not the army we have. This is our own army. These are our brothers, friends and fellow Nigerians, who mean well for all of us.’’ Dickson said.
The Chief of Army Staff, who was represented by Maj.-Gen. Rogers Nicholas, commended Dickson for the invaluable support to his administration.
Buratai said the support included the provision of land for building a barracks, a Forward Operation Base and creating a conducive environment for the Army to tackle insecurity in the state.
Delivering a letter of appreciation from the Nigerian Army, he lauded the people of Bayelsa for their understanding, cooperation, and pledged that the Army would redouble efforts in tackling security challenges in the country.
The Chief of Army Staff, in the letter intimated Dickson of the Army’s intention to carry out its medical outreach programme and donation of educational materials to various communities.