12 November 2017, Sweetcrude, Port Harcourt — The Nigerian Army says it has ended its military exercise Operation Crocodile Smile II in Southern Nigeria, with the location and destruction of 46 illegal refineries across Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.
A statement by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations of Six Division Port Harcourt, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, said the exercise has been adjudged as one of the most successful military exercises conducted by the Nigerian Army in recent times.
Iliyasu in the statement said particularly in Six Division, Port Harcourt, the exercised recorded unprecedented successes in anti-illegal oil bunkering, anti-cultism, and anti-kidnapping.
He explained that the Exercise was officially flagged off at Takwa Bay, Lagos in 81 Division by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, while the closing ceremony was conducted by the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, at the Six Division Step-Up Headquarters in Igwuruta, Rivers State.
According to the statement, “In line with the Nigerian Army Training Directives 2017, Exercise Crocodile Smile II was conducted simultaneously across the Areas of Responsibility, AOR, of 2, 6, 81 and 82 Divisions of the Nigerian Army covering parts of South-West, South-East and South-South geo-political zones from 7th – 28th October 2017.
“It has been observed that the exercise has greatly achieved its main objectives in the areas of training, operations, Inter-Agency as well as Civil-Military Cooperation.
“During the exercise, a total of 46 illegal oil bunkering camps were discovered across Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States.
“The vigilant troops were able to locate and destroy all the illegal refining camps as well as Cotonou boats and wooden barges loaded with stolen crude and other illegally refined products.
“The troops also destroyed illegal oil dump sites, arrested vehicles involved in the transportation of illegal products as well as persons found to be complacent in the perpetration of such illegal activities.”
The Army Public Relations Officer also said the exercise busted nine kidnap syndicates in the region, recovered weapons and arrested a total of 49 crime suspects, adding that all arrested suspects and exhibits have been handed over to relevant security agencies for prosecution.
He said during the exercise, troops donated medical and healthcare materials to the Federal Medical Center in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, while a total of 1000 students of Igbo-Etche Community Secondary School in Rivers State, benefited from the educational outreach with mathematical sets and branded notebooks.
“On anti-cultism operations, a total of 13 cases were recorded across the AOR of the Division in which suspects were arrested and in most cases, firearms and other dangerous weapons were recovered.
“On anti-kidnapping operations, the reinvigorated Anti-Kidnapping Squad of the Division succeeded in busting nine kidnap syndicates during the period under review with significant arrests that led to useful information about criminal hide-outs, modus operandi and sources of weapons for their heinous acts.
“On the arrest of suspects, a total of 49 suspects were arrested in 19 separate incidences on various offenses ranging from cultism related activities, illegal oil bunkering, illegal possession of arms, narcotic activities, financing criminalities and kidnapping among others.”