The Commander of the Joint Task Force in Niger Delta (Sector 1),Colonel A M Grema has told residents of Egbokodo-Itsekiri Community, Delta State to cooperate and see the Army as their friend as the Nigerian Army 3 Battalion in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area, takes it medical outreach programme to the community in continuation of the ongoing “Exercise Crocodile Smile II” in the State.
Addressing residents of the area, Colonel Grema enjoined residents to embrace the free medical programme as well as help the Army with useful information during the exercise, adding that the “Exercise Crocodile Smile I” is an avenue for the Army to train its personnel on how to deal with contemporary challenges.
Grema assured the people of the area that they have nothing to be afraid of if they are not criminals.
“You have nothing to fear if you are not a criminal. Enjoy our free medical outreach, and please cooperate with us. If you have any information that can help us in the exercise, we welcome it.”
“It is in continuation of the first edition of this exercise. Last year we had Exercise Crocodile Smile I. This is Exercise Crocodile Smile II. It’s not much. We are just using it as an avenue to train our personnel on how to deal with contemporary challenges.”
Also speaking, the Commanding Officer 3 Battalion, Maj. A T Abdulkadri begged residents to report any areas of “Critical Security Challenges” to the Army and other sister Security Agencies as well as provide same with vital information on areas that is of threat to them.
Maj. Abdulkadri stated that the “Exercise Crocodile Smile” is in synergy with all other Security Agencies including the Police, Department for State Security, DSS and other sister agencies, noting that the Army is in the Community to ensure that criminals are ridded of the Community with “Exercise Crocodile Smile II”.
“Operation Crocodile Smile II” is an all encompassing operation which involves both civil/military cooperation activities of the Army that will rid the entire area of criminals and lawlessness.
“This is just one of the series of activities lined up for the ongoing Operation Crocodile Smile. It is a way of bringing the Army closer to the people. Just a way of telling the people that the Army is here for them.”
“The people of Egbokodo-Itsekiri Community are most lucky to be the first beneficiaries of this Ongoing Exercise Crocodile Smile II. Much more civil/military cooperation activities will still be conducted as events unfolds.”
Egbokodo Community Spokesman,Mr. Joseph Tete disclosed that there was “No military intimidation” saying the Army has come to help them, commending the Army however for the free medical care provided indigenes of the community. “We need more of this often to take care of our health. Thank you. They’ve tried a lot to bring the programme to us”, he added.
In a related development, the 19 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, Koko has carried out free healthcare outreach for thousands of inhabitants of Oton and Opuama community in Sapele and Warri North local government areas of Delta State as part of the “operation crocodile smile phase II”.
Our correspondent reports that during the programme, the army administered free drugs for various ailments ranging from malaria to typhoid fever, checking of blood pressure, random blood sugar, de-worming for kids, physiotherapy and distribution of Insecticide-treated nets to the residents of the area.
The Commander of the 19 Battalion, LT. Col. MA Ma’aji while flagging off the programme, said the exercise was part of Army’s social responsibility to host communities where soldiers operates adding that “operation crocodile smile” was meant to put smile on the faces of the general public who had in one way or the other assisted, contributed or supported the military to succeed in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities.
LT. Col. Ma’aji who thanked Oton and Opuama community leaders for their unalloyed cooperation so far in the areas of information and intelligence gathering emphasised that the aim of the “operation crocodile smile’ was to rid the society of militancy, kidnapping, armed robbery and other social vices, remarking that leaders of the two communities have been helpful in actualising the task.
Leader of Opuama community Julius Loboh, represented by the PRO, Mr Kinkin Ebiya expressed appreciation and sued for enduring peace in the area.