Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared his support for the Operation Crocodile Smile by the Nigerian Army, saying that he will do everything to ensure peace and security in the Niger Delta.
This is as the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai explained that the Operation Crocodile Smile was introduced to train army personnel on the techniques of operating in the Niger Delta.
Governor Wike spoke on Monday when he granted audience to the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai and Senior Army Officers at the Government House, Port Harcourt.
The governor said: “The Rivers State Government is fully in support of the Operation Crocodile Smile. I was fully briefed by the Brigade Commander and we associate ourselves with the programme because it will make the Niger Delta safer.
“One of the advantages of the programme is that hoodlums in the creeks are being uprooted for a safer Niger Delta. I support the programme insofar as it is done with the constitution “.
According to the governor, the Rivers State Government will sustain its support for security agencies to create the right atmosphere for democratic governance.
He said that the State Government has procured 6 New Armoured Personnel Carriers for the Police and in the process of concluding the acquisition of 10 gunboats for the Nigerian Navy.
Earlier, the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai said that the Operation Crocodile Smile will ensure that the security challenges in the Niger Delta are addressed and peace enhanced.
He said: “The Operation Crocodile Smile is an exercise to train our troops on amphibious operations “.
The Army Chief said that the exercise seeks to provide the civil authorities with the right environment to carry out governance.
He said the exercise will ensure that the troops are professional with the required training to conduct operations within the law.
He said: “Our waters are generally porous. The Nigerian Army has amphibious capabilities in conjunction with the Nigerian Navy to carry out limited operations within the creeks”.
General Buratai added that another aspect of the Operation Crocodile Smile will witness the Army intervening in critical areas of need for the communities. He said that the Army has already embarked on medical outreach in Bille (Rivers State) and Nembe (Bayelsa State).