John Adams, Minna
Worried by the rising security situation in Niger state occasioned by armed banditry, cattle rustling and other crimes, the Nigerian Army has launched a Military Exercise code name operation AYEM AKPATUMA II in the State
The exercise which will be an annual event spearheaded by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai, commenced today(Thursday) in many formations across the North Central Geo-political zones of Nigeria.
Flagging off the exercise in Minna on Thursday, the General Officer Commanding (GOC)1 Mechanised Division of Nigeria Army, Major General Faruk Yahaya, said that Niger state is bearing the brunt of spillover effects of security situation due to common borders it shares with some neighboring states.
According to Yahaya, “Many of the bandits fleeing the epicenter of these military operations seek sanctuary in the numerous forest reserves traversing the borders of Niger state with the neighbouring states.
” The situation has led to an upsurge in banditry activities, kidnapping , cattle rustling , targeted assassinations and other vices in this hitherto peaceful environment.”
The GOC also disclosed that exercise AYEM AKPATUMA 11 is a joint and multi-agency exercise designed to check these threats.
“The exercise will encompass civil military cooperation activities as well as a field training exercise that will last till December, 2019. Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA 11 will be conducted in line with the new Super Camp concept recently adopted in the Nigerian Army.”
“In line with this concept, troops taking part in the exercise are concentrated in a Super Camp at Koton-koro from where they will project combat force to other Patrol/Forward Operating Bases in response to security threats across the entire state,” Yahaya explained.
He however commended the state government for its unrelenting support both materially and morally to the Officers and Men of 31 Atillery Brigade in Niger state in furtherance of the fight against bandits and other criminal elements in the state.
The Govenor of Niger state, Abubakar Bello, said the bandits find sanctuary in the forest reserves in the state, adding that local government areas such as Mariga, Shiroro, Rafi and Munya are at the receiving end of banditry activities.
Bello who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Ahmed Matane, promised that the state government will extend necessary support to military in the ongoing efforts at halting the menace.