The Command Army Records, Lokoja, Kogi State has launched an exercise aimed at fishing out criminals from their hideouts, tagged: “Exercise Enduring Peace ll.”
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Farouk Yahaya, launched the new exercise in Lokoja on Tuesday.
Yahaya said it was designed to be conducted in the last quarter of the year to checkmate all forms of criminality as the yuletide season approaches.
According to him, the exercise is a result of the prevailing security challenges across the country, saying that similar ones are also ongoing in other parts of the country under different names, depending on the peculiarity of each region.
The COAS, who was represented by the Commander, Command Army Records, Major General Sunday Igbinomwanhia, said “Exercise enduring peace II” would hold from October 18 to December 22, 2022.
He explained that the exercise would involve stages of operational activities, including patrols, ambushes and raids of criminal hideouts.
He added that it would involve some non kinetic activities in the form of Civil-Military Cooperation programme such as free medical outreaches in some selected communities among others.
He said: “Our choice of medical outreach in support of the exercise is deeply rooted in our belief that the support of the host communities is key to the success of the entire operations.”
Yahaya stressed that the medical outreaches would ameliorate the existing health challenges within the targeted communities, and foster existing cordial relationship between CAR and host communities.
The COAS further disclosed that the exercise is a joint venture involving all security agencies in Kogi State as well as Vigilante Group to ensure peace across the state.
Yahaya emphasised that the decision to make it a joint exercise was in line with his vision to have “a professional Nigerian Army, ready to accomplish assigned missions within a joint environment in defence of Nigeria.
“Therefore, we must work together to achieve the common goals of safeguarding the lives and properties of Nigerians everywhere.”
The COAS commended Governor Yahaya Bello for providing the enabling environment for them, while appreciating heads of security agencies for their continuous support and collaborations
Speaking in his own capacity, Igbinomwanhia appreciated the COAS for providing the resources for the free medical outreaches and the entire exercise.
He said: “Kogi is a peaceful place and very strategic and important to our nation.
“We must keep Kogi very safe and habitable for residents and passersby.
“We promise that wherever the criminals are, we will make Kogi unconformable for the criminals in whatsoever.”
In his remarks, Bello, who flagged off the exercise, thanked the COAS for organising the wonderful exercise to keep criminals out of the state and Nigeria at large.
Bello assured the COAS of the full support of the State Government, saying the exercise was timely especially coming towards the 2023 general elections.
He urged all the Local Government chairmen and the traditional rulers and the entire people of the state to continue to cooperate with the State Government as well as the security agencies.
He assured that Kogi State would remain a peaceful and secure state as far as Nigeria is concerned, saying: “If Kogi is in turmoil, the nation would be in turmoil being bordered by nine States, including the FCT.”
Bello, therefore, warned that anyone no matter how highly placed in the society who got himself or herself involved in any criminal activity would face the wrath of the law.
“I will continue to lead this exercise from the front to ensure enduring peace for the people of Kogi. We come in peace and we mean business,” Bello said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the Attah Igala, Mathew Opaluwa, and other royal fathers were present at the occasion.
The Attah Igala, who is the President of Kogi State Traditional Councils, commended the COAS for the exercise, and assured of the continuous support from the traditional institution for the security agencies and the state government.