The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has expressed confidence that the ongoing “Exercise Egwu Eke III will swallow all the bandits, rustlers, terrorists, kidnappers, robbers and militants” in the country.
Buratai gave the assurance when he launched the exercise otherwise known as `Python Dance’ in Lagos.
He also assured that the python “will also swallow thugs and other miscreants that may raise their heads to disturb peace in the country’’ at its conclusion in February.
According to him, it will address the issue of fake news and unpatriotic elements that are impeding military operations and demoralising forces at the expense of national security.
He described the exercise as 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.
The army launched the exercise on January 1 and will be concluded on February 28.
It said it was being conducted to dance nationwide, to tackle already “observed upsurge’’ in security challenges as the 2019 general elections drew nearer.
Egwu Eke I and II were conducted in 2016 and 2017 to address peculiar security challenges in the South-East geo-political zone, particularly during Yuletide.
The army chief, therefore, charged troops involved in the exercise to deal decisively with suspected criminals, but observe the rule of engagement and ensure the right of law abiding citizens were protected.
He used the occasion to advise journalists that it was necessary that they safeguarded national security, while reporting issues of defence and security.
Buratai noted: “Defence and national security was not all comers’ 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 authorised on behalf of the government to transmit it; or obtains, reproduces or retains any classified matter which he is not authorised on behalf of the government to obtain, reproduce or retain, as the case may be, is guilty of an offence.’’
Buratai further called for concerted effort to save the country from the claws of unpatriotic elements fighting to pull it down.
He said: “Giving out official information or spreading fake news is inimical to national security.’’
Governor Akinwumi Ambode commended the military for the attention being given to security in the state and assured it of support to make the exercise a success.
Represented by his Special Adviser on Security, Adekunle Ajanaku, the governor, however, noted that there were resurgence of militancy and oil bunkering in the state, particularly at Ikorodu area.
He, therefore, appealed to the army chief to help in tackling those menace through Egwu Eke III and other ongoing exercise like “Awatse’’.