Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Chief of Army Staff Lt. General Tukur Buratai has flagged off Exercise (Ex) A KPATUMA II (Ex Cat Race) in Benue to curb the rising cases of kidnapping, armed robbery, cultism, armed banditry and communal clashes in the state.
Buratai who was represented by Chief of Army Logistics, Major General Joel Unuigbe, at ceremony stated that the exercise would be conducted from November 1st to 23rd December 2019.
Speaking at the event held at the Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida Square in Makurdi on Friday, the Chief of Army Staff noted that the Exercise would be conducted in conjunction with other security agencies operating in the area.
He however assured that the Code of Conduct and Rules of Engagements have been drawn up, which will guide the conduct of troops throughout the duration of the Exercise.
He urged the troops to conduct themselves in the most professional way that is expected of all Nigeria Army personnel as according to him, the Nigerian Army will not condone any act of human rights abuse by the troops involved in this exercise.
Buratai also sounded a note of warning criminal elements in the areas covered by the Exercise to desist from their criminal
acts, surrender their weapons or be met with decisive appropriate force.
He enjoined the general public and all law-abiding citizens to go about their legitimate duties and promptly pass useful information on criminal activities to security agencies for appropriate action.
In his speech, Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom described the Exercise as a welcome development considering the rising cases of crime especially kidnapping in the state.
Ortom who was represented by his deputy, Engr. Benson Abounu said a retired Appeal Court Judge Late Tine Tur whose burial is Saturday (today), died as a result of trauma he suffered after his was wife and sister-in-law were kidnapped 15 months ago without any trace till date.
“I am just coming to this occasion from the court session in honour of a retired Appeal Court Judge whose wife was kidnapped about fifteen months ago and till today has not been found.
“Both the man and his mother who was buried few months ago, died as a result of trauma they suffered from the kidnap of the woman of his wife. Till date, we don’t know if the woman is alive or dead.”
Ortom recalled that Benue was under siege of hoodlums about two years ago during which 73 farmers were killed on new year day in 2018.
He thanked President Muhammad Buhari and the Gen. Buratai led Nigerian Army for coming to the rescue of the state capital from the stronghold of criminals.
The Governor, however, expressed the hope that the limitation of the first exercise will not be same as this but urged the troops to deal decisively with criminals to enable people Benue to have peace of mind.