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Operation Crocodile Smile targeted to protect lives, national assets ­—Defence minister

The Operation Crocodile Smile, an exercise by the authorities of the Nigerian Army, has projected that the training exercise was targeted to protect lives and defend national assets from vandals of pipelines, oil wellheads, installations and manifolds, thereby containing the activities of oil theft and militancy in the Niger Delta region.

However, the special force are now fully abreast on how to operate in a maritime environment at the training that took place in Twon Brass in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.

Addressing the combatant soldiers during the closing ceremony, the Minister of  Defence, Brigadier- General Mansur Dan Ali, (retd), who was represented bv the permanet secretary, in the ministry Danjuma Sheni, said the exercise, Crocodile Smile, was aimed at training soldiers on how to fight crimes in the riverine area  and also to defend the territorial area.

He said the idea was to stimulate the troops to see how effective they can be in carrying out their operations.

“We have the capacity and the manpower to defend this area, the people and the oil facilities. It’s not to harass, intimidate or threaten the community people but also to protect them from  miscreants and oil thieves”.

According to him, they have discussed with the political leaders in the area and also sensitise the people on the importance of the exercise and therefore, urged them not be panicked.

“We cannot allow some criminal elements to continue to operate along the watery ways by killing innocent people who are busy going about their legitimate business. We want to make the water way safe”, he said.

He said the launch ‘of operatio crocodile smile, is to checkmate the  activities of pipeline vandalism, illegal bunkerers, among others.

In his remark, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Burutai Takur, said the exercise had aready  achieved a tremendous result, adding that arms and ammunitions have been recovered from those involving in criminal activities, destruction of illegal refineries alongside the boat they are using and the exercise still continues.

He said the challenges are enormous but assured the officials that they shall overcome.