The Nigerian Army has warned criminals operating in Lagos and Ogun states to vacate or be dealt with ruthlessly as its men in Exercise Crocodile Smile 4 will not spare thieves and pipeline vandals in these states.
The Chief of Army Staff , Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai who gave the warning said his men working under the Exercise Crocodile Smile 4, will the hesitate to deal ruthlessly with criminals, including armed robbers, pipeline vandals within the Lagos and Ogun states axis.
General Buratai spoke while flagging off the exercise said the exercise crocodile 4 will be intelligence driven with the aim of smoking out criminals from their hide and ensure that the period of the Christmas would be crime free.
He said Exercise Crocodile Smile 4 will be conducted in line with military constitutional role of conducting internal security operation in aid of civil authority, adding that the exercise will dovetail into real time operations at any moment a potent threat is encountered.
General Buratai spoke just as the Governor of Lagos State Babajide Sanwo-Olu encouraged Lagosians to accept the military operation as it will help checkmate crime and criminality within the state to the barest minimum.
He lamented the rising incidences of pipeline vandalism in the state recalling a near disaster that was averted at Abesan area of Iyana Ipaja where oil thieves broke a pipe and were siphoning petroleum product from the area.
He 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 amass wealth through underhanded means during the period.
The Governor urged the military not to fail to ensure civil-military cooperation activities that were supposed to be part of the Exercise Crocodile Smile IV will engender, adding that these activities will serve to endear the Military to the people.
The exercise which was attended by many dignitaries from Lagos State showcased a beach landing demonstration by troops of the Nigerian Army who exhibited dexterity in the dealing with insurgents during real time operations.
Also medical outreach was initiated by the Nigerian Army Medical Corps led by Colonel Oni, where over 1000 women and children were given free treatment and other medical supplies, including mosquito nets and drugs to take care of the ailment.