The Commander 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Abdu Hassan, has described Operation Crocodile Smile 111 of the army in Akwa Ibom as a huge success.
Hassan on Thursday in Ikot Abasi told the News Agency of Nigeria that the exercise was used to flush out criminal element operating the state.
He said: “Since the operation crocodile smile was officially launched in 2016, it has been able to flush out criminals and other bad elements operating within the Niger Delta region.
“I think by and large the exercise, Operation crocodile smile 111 has been very successful.”
The commander said that the exercise had taken the military to virtually all part of Akwa Ibom to ensure peace in the communities.
He said: “During the operations, the army was able to arrest criminals and destroy fake and illegal refineries in Akwa Ibom and across the Niger Delta region.
“The exercise has been very successful. I can tell you within the three lines of operations that were carried out, all the three were very successful.
“The operations that we carried out led us to virtually all parts of the state.
“During the operations, we were able to arrest and destroy fake and illegal refineries, fuel dumps as well as make a number of arrests. Tankers laden with illegal petroleum products were also seized.
“We went a step further by collaborating with NDLEA and made a lot of arrests and seizures of illicit drugs.
“That has been one of the major problems of our youths and the society.”
The commandant said that the exercise had brought peace to Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun Local Government Areas in particular, which had been deserted due to the activities of militants and criminals.
He said that the military-civil relationship had yielded fruit as most of the communities visited gave information that assisted the military in carrying out the operations.
Hassan said: “The civil-military relationship, which you are aware of, assisted us in no small way. We also used the opportunity to donate to the orphanage home in Uyo.
“So, I think by and large the exercise crocodile smile 111 has been very successful.”
NAN reports that Operations Crocodile Smile 111 commenced in the Niger Delta on October 22 and will end on November 22.
The exercise is aimed at stemming the tide of pipeline vandalism, illegal refineries/bunkering, kidnapping, cultism and other related crimes in the region.