Army Flags Off Operation Python Dance 111 In Lagos 

Hyacinth Chinweuba

As part of security strategy ahead of the 2019 general elections, Chief of Army staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Yusuf Buratai, on Monday flagged off the EGWU EKE III (Python Dance III) in 81 Division Area of Responsibility (AOR). 

Speaking during the launch, Buratai, said, “This is another historic and important event geared towards reassuring law abiding citizens and Nigerians in general of the resolve of the Nigerian Army to provide adequate security and safety even as the nation approaches the 2019 General Elections” 

According to him, “this significant event is also a reassurance of the resolve of the Nigerian Army to conduct joint operations in collaboration with other security and para military agencies in aid to civil authority”.

He explained that the objective is to reinvigorate all existing operations in the country with additional manpower, equipment and resources to address the lingering security problems in the country.  

“I am to assure Nigerians that at the end of the Exercise which is also conducted simultaneously by other divisions in the Army, the Python must have swallowed all the bandits, rustlers, terrorists, kidnappers, robbers and militants in the country. The Python will also swallow thugs and other miscreants that may raise their heads to disturb peace in the country” He added.

The Army Chief also said that the exercise is also meant to address the issue of fake news and unpatriotic elements that are impeding military operations and demoralizing forces at the expense of national security. The exercise is a realistic training package in Internal Security operations, clearance operations, emergency management, rescue operations, road blocks, cordon and search as well as anti – kidnapping and anti – cultism.

Further, it is necessary to draw attention of well-meaning Nigerians that while reporting issues of defense and security, they must have at the back of their minds the importance of national security. Just as mentioned earlier, defense and national security is not all comer’s affairs. No one is permitted to divulge any information that is injurious to national security. This is contained in the Official Secret Act 1962. “Section 1(3) of this Act state that a person who transmits any classified matter to a person to whom is not authorized on behalf of the government to transmit it; or obtains, reproduces or retains any classified matter which he is not authorized on behalf of the government to obtain, reproduce or retain, as the case may be, is guilty of an offence”. I enjoin Nigerians to be mindful of the fact that this is the only country that we have and all efforts should be focused to save it from the claws of unpatriotic elements fighting to pull the country down. Giving out official information or spreading fake news is inimical to national security.

“Prior to EGWU EKE III, recall that Op AWATSE among others have intensified operations to crack down the activities of illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism, kidnapping, armed robbery and cultism among others. It is worthy to note that operations conducted against economic sabotage by pipeline vandals and cultists as well as other criminals have achieved commendable successes. Several vandals have been apprehended while other criminal elements especially cultists are on the run. The momentum of the operation must be sustained. We must continue to display professionalism in the discharge of our constitutional roles while acting in aid to civil authority. Do not provide any opportunity for criminal elements to infiltrate your ranks. You must also embark on Civil Military Relations activities like medical outreach and others”. Buratai said

Buratai said the launch is also an opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the Nigerian Army and mandate in aid to civil authority, stressing, “Accordingly, EGWU EKE III has the mandate to provide adequate protection and security for the good people of Nigeria. I am also calling on all law-abiding citizens to provide troops adequate support and cooperation, especially timely information to enable them to accomplish their task.

 “I assure you of adequate logistic and perational support throughout the conduct of this Exercise”. 

“You must deal decisively with the criminals while observing strict ROE and ensure the right of law abiding citizens are protected” he concluded.

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