The 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, says it has deployed troops for the commencement of “Operation Crocodile Smile IV” in four Niger Delta states.
Major General Jamil Sarham, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, disclosed this on Friday at the opening of free medical outreach in Rumuokoro community, Obio/Akpor in Rivers.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the medical outreach in Obio/Akpor and Ogu/Bolo Local Government Areas (LGA) signalled the commencement of the operation in the state.
Sarham said the division would carry out the operation in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River and Rivers states.
He said: “This operation is intended for troops to improve on operational, administrative and logistics proficiency as well as civil-military cooperation aspects in a military operation.
“The operation will be conducted in both land and waterways to checkmate security challenges in the Niger Delta, including, militancy, pipeline vandalism, illegal oil bunkering, cultism, kidnapping, among others.”
The army chief said the exercise has recorded several successes since it was first launched in the Niger Delta in 2016.
“Operation Crocodile Smile has achieved significant successes in the protection of oil and gas infrastructures as well as checkmating crimes since its inception three years ago.
“However, the successes were achieved as a result of very good synergy between the army, navy, air force and other security agencies
“Also, this year’s exercise will also witness collaboration or joint efforts between the Nigerian Army and her sister security agencies,” he pointed out.
Sarham urged the people to carry out their lawful economic and social activity without fear of intimidation and molestation by troops during the operation.
He called on the people to participate in the free medical outreach designed to test and treat minor ailments in the area.
“We are also appealing to law abiding citizens to report all forms of criminality in order to forestall any negativity on economic activities in the Niger Delta,” he said.
Speaking, the Deputy Chairman of Obio/Akpor Council, Mrs Chinyere Agbaru, thanked the army for conducting the free medical test and treatment in the council.
She urged the division to carry out regular medical exercises in the area.
On his part, Mr Victor Erasmus, the Chairman of Ogu/Bolo Council called on residents to support the army to enable troops conduct successful operation in the area.