By Evelyn Usman
The Nigerian Army Monday in Lagos, flagged off Exercise Egwu Eke III,(Python Dance III) to tackle security challenges in Lagos and Ogun states, even as it assured Nigerians of their safety, before, during and after the forth coming general elections.
Speaking at the Flag off ceremony held at the Ikeja cantonment, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Yusuf Buratai, explained that objectives of the exercise included among other things: to reinvigorate all existing operations in the country with additional manpower, equipment and resources, to address the lingering security problems in the country.
He said : “This significant event is also a reassurance of the resolve of the Nigerian Army to conduct joint operations in collaboration with other security and para military agencies in aid to civil authority.
“I am assuring Nigerians that at the end of the Exercise which is also conducted simultaneously by other divisions in the Army, the Python must have swallowed all the bandits, rustlers, terrorists, kidnappers, robbers and militants in the country. The Python will also swallow thugs and other miscreants that may raise their heads to disturb peace in the country.
“Finally, it is also meant to address the issue of fake news and unpatriotic elements that are impeding military operations and demoralizing forces at the expense of national security. The exercise is a realistic training package in Internal Security operations, clearance operations, emergency management, rescue operations, road blocks, cordon and search as well as anti – kidnapping and anti – cultism”.
He recalled that prior to exercise Python Dance III, there had been an intensified operations such as Operation AWATSE , to crack down activities of illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, kidnapping, armed robbery and cultism.
The operations according to the COAS, achieved some feats following the arrest of several vandals.
He was however quick to inform Nigerians that “while reporting issues of defense and security, they must have at the back of their minds the importance of national security. “Defense and national security is not an all comer’s affairs. No one is permitted to divulge any information that is injurious to national security.
This is contained in the Official Secret Act 1962. “Section 1(3) of this Act states that a person who transmits any classified matter to a person to whom is not authorized on behalf of the government to transmit it; or obtains, reproduces or retains any classified matter which he is not authorized on behalf of the government to obtain, reproduce or retain, as the case may be, is guilty of an offence”.
I enjoin Nigerians to be mindful of the fact that this is the only country that we have and all efforts should be focused to save it from the claws of unpatriotic elements fighting to pull the country down”.