By Ene Asuquo
13 Brigade of the Nigerian Army has flagged off its exercise tagged operation”Still Water 2″ with the collaboration of civil authorities.
The Commander, Brigadier General Everest Okoro in an address, said the exercise would comprise land and riverine operations in real time, noting “real-time operations would be used to counter security threats ranging from kidnapping, armed banditry, arms smuggling and proliferation, militancy and cultism.”
He further explained that the exercise would serve to build the confidence of the public in the capacity of the military and other security agencies to provide the much needed secure environment during the yuletide and throughout Nigeria’s electioneering process.
According to him, “Still Water would serve as an avenue to challenge commanders in their understanding and application of tactics, techniques and procedures of various scenarios of an internal security environment.
“Exercise Still Water II will heighten the tempo of operations and ensure no respite for criminals, while at the same time ensuring law abiding citizens enjoy the freedom to go about their legitimate activities,” he assured.
Okoro also explained to the community stakeholders present at the occasion that the troops would conduct “roadblocks, mobile patrols, riverine patrols, cordon and search, crowd dispersal, VIP protection, guarding of key points and vulnerable points, escort duties, imposition of curfew, rescue operations and raids to contain and deny criminals freedom of actions.”
He solicited the cooperation of the peace loving people of Cross River State and others within 13 Brigade’s area of responsibility to make the exercise successful.
The Commander stated that the brigade adopted the concept of “Whole of Government Approach” by integrating relevant security agencies in the state to enhance the troops proficiency in the execution of ‘Military Operations Other Than War’ and cement existing cordial civil-military cooperation to facilitate civilian support for the military.
“The participation of other security agencies, he said, will also boost realism and foster interagency cooperation and inter-operability as well as ‘jointness’ in line with the Chief of Army Staff’s vision.
“The brigade will also carry out some civil military activities in the form of medical outreaches, educational outreaches, sinking of boreholes and other activities that would impact positively on the lives of host communities,” he stated.
He further urged stakeholders including the public not to panic since the participants would consider the political, social, economic, cultural, religious, environmental and humanitarian factors in the course of the various operations.
Also speaking at the event, the representative of the government of Cross River, Dr. Alfred Mboto commended the Nigerian Army for its monumental contributions to the peace in the state and country.
Dr. Mboto expressed hope that the exercise will record huge successes in the coming weeks, noting “from the gallantry you have displayed here there is no doubt that Exercise Still Water II will be successful. I have been directed to inform you that the state will support the army conduct a successful exercise.
“I pray that throughout the duration of the exercise, it would be hitch-free, violent free and professionalism brought to bear. From the demonstration here, I hope that what the exercise is targeted to achieve would be achieved,” he said.
Highlight of the opening ceremony were combat displays by troops as well as free health checks for members of Ikang community in Bakassi council area.