The top hierarchy of the Army has commenced its much publicized Exercise Crocodile II in Lagos, saying the earlier conducted in the Niger Delta was a huge success.
This is coming just as Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Tukur Buratai explained the rationale behind the decision of the force to embark on Exercise Crocodile II in the Western part of the country, saying it is aimed at curtailing criminality in coastal areas of the zone.
Speaking on Friday said at the formal commencement of the exercise at Takwa Bay Island in Lagos State, Buratai stated that the ‘Order of Battle’ 2016 provides for amphibious battalion in the island to keep the coastal area of the state safe.
He said “a detachment of Nigerian Army has since been stationed on the island; more army presence will also be felt soon on the island and other parts of the country in line with the 2016 Order of Battle as fund becomes available.”
The army chief recalled that the first phase of the exercise which took place between August and September 2016 in Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Imo and Rivers states recorded tremendous success.
He said it degraded activities of militants and illegal oil bunkering, destruction of kidnappers’ den and rescue of kidnapped victims, destruction of cultists’ camps, among others.
Buratai, however, said the success of Exercise Crocodile Smile I in those states pushed some criminal elements to other parts of the country, thus necessitating “readjustment” of area of operation of the second phase in 2017.
He added that it was in that regard that the exercise was being conducted in the South South and South West regions.
He noted that it was being done with sister agencies to sharpen troops’ combat skills on land and amphibious environment and consolidate on gains achieved in the first phase.