By Samuel Oyadongha
THE authorities of 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Yenagoa, have been lauded for conducting an environmental sanitation exercise around the site of the country’s first oil well at Otuabagi in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The Brigade, as part of its ongoing operational programme, codenamed Operation Crocodile Smile II, which also includes community relations, last week, gave the Oloibiri Well I surroundings a facelift to attract tourists to the area.
Deputy governor of Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (retd), who made the commendation, yesterday, at Otuabagi, also called on the people of the state to continue to support military establishments located in their communities, noting that the armed forces were primarily responsible for defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria and Nigerians.
On the first oil well, the deputy governor advised relevant agencies of government, especially the state Ministry of Tourism Development, to preserve the oil well site as it signposts the evolution of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
In his remarks, Major General E. O. Udoh, General Officer Commanding, 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, with headquarters in Port-Harcourt, Rivers State, who represented the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, stated that the Nigerian Army of today believes in training and conducting various operational exercises to enable it deliver its core constitutional mandate.
According to him, Operation Crocodile Smile was conceptualized with a view to combating effectively criminal activities in the Niger Delta such as sea robbery, oil bunkering, sea piracy, kidnapping and vandalisation of oil pipelines as well as protection of critical national oil and gas infrastructure.
Earlier in his remarks, Brig-Gen. Kevin Aligbe, Commander, 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Yenagoa, stated that the first oil well at Otuabagi was chosen for the exercise because of its symbolic and prime place in the history of the oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
He further stated that the event was also conceived in order to attract potential tourists to the first oil well site in Nigeria, which had a vertical drilling depth of 3,660meters.
At the event the GOC 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj. Gen.E. O. Udoh, Brig-Gen. Kevin Aligbe, Commander, 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Yenagoa and other senior officers among others. They also visited and inspected facilities at the 343 Artillery Regiment of the Nigerian Army at Nembe City.