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Sanwo -Olu flags off Exercise Crocodile Smile IV, assures Lagosians of crime-free yuletide

Joy Anyim 

The Governor of Lagos, Mr. Babajide Sanwo -Olu has urged  Lagosians to support the Nigerian Army (NA), during the Exercise Crocodile Smile IV,  to end all forms of crime and criminality in the state. 

Governor Sanwo -Olu who was the Special Guest of Honour at the flag-off of the exercise at the 81 Division Area of Responsibility (AOR), comprising  Lagos and Ogun, commended the Chief of Army Staff for initiating the exercise, saying it was a welcomed development especially as the yuletide draws near.  

Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, said the state government will continue to support the army to combat violent crimes such as pipeline vandalism,  kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism amongst others. 

Speaking at the flag-off ceremony which held at Tarkwa – Bay,  in Lagos, on Tuesday, the Governor said, “ Exercise Crocodile Smile IV which seeks among others to ensure peace and security within the division’s domain during the weeks before Christmas festivities is a welcome development as its promises to ensure that criminal elements have no safe haven within the period. From antecedents, the security issues prevalent within the yuletide are not lost in any of us as criminal elements move to amass wealth through underhanded means during the period.

“We, therefore, marvel at the thoughtfulness and strategic foresight of the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, in mooting such lofty idea as Exercise Crocodile Smile IV. We see in the Chief of Army Staff, a big-hearted General who in his magnanimity has extended a hand of fellowship to all the sister security agencies in Lagos and Ogun States. 

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“On our part as a government, we will continue to make efforts to support the military in providing security in Lagos State as much as possible. We doff our hats at your resilience and determination towards providing security in Lagos State despite difficult challenges. We applaud the responsiveness of the 9 Brigade of the Nigerian at clapping down on erring personnel of the military for disciplinary procedures whenever we find personnel defaulting on our laws. On the whole, it has been a good working relationship between the Lagos State Government and the military in Lagos State and we urge the military to keep up the good work.

“ With exercise Crocodile Smile IV coming onboard in the run-up to Christmas and beyond, then the prospects are very bright that Lagosians and I believe the good people of Ogun State will enjoy hitch-free 2019/2020 yuletide season. I must not also forget to mention the Civil-Military Cooperation activities that we are told this Exercise Crocodile Smile IV will engender. These activities to my mind will serve to endear the Military to the people.”

Earlier in his remark, the Chief Of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.- Gen. Tukur Buratai, called on Nigerians to support the army with vital information about criminal activities in their environment.  
Buratai who was also represented by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division, Maj. – Gen. Olu Irefin, noted that the exercise will also boost the efficiency of soldiers and security personnel participating in the exerManagementCorpsNovembercise, as well foster interagency cooperation.  

He said, “ The exercise will also provide a good opportunity of conducting joint operations with other services and relevant security agencies in order to strengthen interagency cooperation for the efficient conduct of operations in aid of civil authority. The objective of crocodile smile IV among other is to reduce to the barest minimum the prevailing security threats in the riverine environment such as piracy, illegal oil bunkering activities pipeline vandalism cultism militancy and some other common sundry crimes. 

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“It is also aimed at sharpening the professional skills of the security personnel that are involved in the excise. The exercise will be intelligence-driven and will dovetail into real-time operations at any moment a potent threat is encountered. This will be in line with a military constitutional time of conducting internal security operations in aid to civil authority. I wish to, therefore, commend the positive attitude of the security stakeholders in 81 Division Area of responsibility, especially during the brigade training day. The lessons learnt from the training will no doubt change our efforts towards the successful conduct of the exercise. “I am very confident that the objectives for the conduct of the exercise will be achieved to further enhance the troop’s professional knowledge capacity in conduct of joint operations and synergy of efforts to tackle commonly perceived security challenges in our far country Nigeria. The sharing of timely information and support to our troops in the field will to a great extent assist in the success and smooth conduct of ex crocodile smile IV in 81 Division Area of Responsibility. “

He further urged participating security operatives not to compromise their stand in ensuring crime and criminality is reduced to the barest minimum. 
The COAS also asserted that the NA is committed to ending terrorism and insurgency in the country. “Let me quickly add that if we as a force allow any mole to have their way in the conduct of the exercise and operations the main objective of the exercise will then be a mirage. I therefore urge and charge every force taking part in this exercise to collaborate and see each other as comrades in fighting a common adversary. This will improve capacity as well as strengthen interagency cooperation and synergy among all the security stakeholders. We must also improve and sustain our civil. military relationship in order to win the hearts and minds of the civil populace. 

“ This will again re-energies internal security operations for efficient joint operations. It is also hoped that Nigerians and the general public will celebrate the Christmas and new year peacefully.

“Furthermore, let me reassure the general public that the NA is still committed to ending the fight against terrorism and insurgency, ” he said.  
Participating in the exercise are men of the Nigerian Navy, the Nigeria Police Force, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, the Federal Road Safety Corps and other security agencies. The exercise will also run from November 19 to December 23, 2019.