From: Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has justified his support for the military exercise ‘Operation CROCODILE SMILE II in the state.
According to him, the military operation which was basically made up of patrol in the creeks and rivulets to demonstrate military presence would enhance the security strategy the state government has been putting in place.
There have been mixed reactions in Ijaw communities since the military announced the commencement of Operation Crocodile Smile 11 especially its medical outreach programmes in some communities.
Governor Dickson, however, speaking on Monday, allayed the fears of the people and disclosed that he is in full support of the military and the medical outreach programme.
He explained that he has met with the Army top echelon and has received full briefing on its operation and the communities they would visit for their medical outreach programme.
While urging community leaders and the people to cooperate with the Army, he said their presence in the waterways would drive away criminal elements that have been tormenting the people.
Dickson who assured the people that the Army has promised to be professional in their operations added that any misconduct by any member of the Army should be reported to him through the dedicated hotlines lines on Contriman Direct, for him to take it up with the military.
“I think the exercise of going to the Creeks in a show of force has the capacity to scare away the bad guys. The exercise would have a great impact on our security rating. The operation Crocodile Smile has my support. The Army Commanders have explained to me. Bayelsans should trust me that if the Army do anything illegal against my people, I will take it up with them. Bayelsans should trust me to speak out. We should allow the Army to go to the Creeks and chase out the Sea-pirates, kidnappers and vandals. I have already received briefings on what they want to do. I would not support the military in going into any community unless there is a compelling reason or without me being informed”
In a related development Dickson endorsed the Army medical outreach while receiving Maj. Gen. Rogers Nicholas, Chief of Logistics, Army Headquarters who came to deliver a letter of commendation from the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai.
“The military and other security agencies are a force for good. And, I want to use this opportunity to call on community leaders to continue to support the military. We can’t have a Nigerian military that is coming here to inject people with poisonous substances. That is not the army we have. This is our own army. These are our brothers, friends and fellow Nigerians, who mean well for all of us.”