The Nigerian Army has announced planned conduct of Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger states) from Thursday, 15 February to Saturday 31 March, 2018.
Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. TY Buratai made the announcement on Wednesday.
Reading from a statement at a press briefing, he said Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA has become more expedient due to upsurge in cases of armed banditry, kidnapping and cattle rustling in Kaduna and Niger States as well as other sundry crimes in Kogi state and herdsmen/farmers clashes and attacks on communities particularly in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa States by armed militias.
Security challenges have continued unabated in these States despite the efforts by sister security agencies to curb them.
“Additionally, Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA is also conceptualized to dovetail into real time operations thereby fulfilling both training and operations objectives of sharpening operational skills of personnel as well as providing an avenue to conduct operations against violent criminals when called upon. Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA will also be unique as the ones before it with the establishment of Step-Up Brigade Headquarters in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger States. Emphasis will be placed on raids, cordon and search operations, anti-kidnapping drills, road blocks, check points and show of force, as well as humanitarian activities such as medical outreach.
“It is pertinent to note that Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA is set to be another remarkable exercise that would make the nation proud of the Nigerian Army’s determination at sustaining its constitutional role of defending the territorial integrity of the nation as well as its commitment to aid the civil authority to bring about peace and security in troubled areas.
“In this regard, members of the public especially the residents of Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger States are enjoined not to panic as the security, safety and well-being of innocent and law abiding citizens have been deliberately factored in the planning of this exercise.
“Furthermore, the troops taking part in the exercise would be guided by the Professional Code of Conduct, Rules of Engagement and the respect for human rights. Thus, the general public is requested to remain vigilant and be security conscious, as suspected criminals may be fleeing from military operations in these areas and finding safe haven amidst our communities.
“The public is also reminded to report any suspicious activity or movement to the nearest military formation or other security agencies for prompt action. In order to ensure cordial civil-military relations, we shall make contact phone numbers of all Brigade Commanders public in addition to the Nigerian Army short code Information and Call Centre 193.”