The Chief of the Army staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai has said the deployment of troops to the Niger Delta region was a deliberate security policy to train officers in marine combat operations as the region is largely riverine and borders the Atlantic ocean, which could be prone to external aggression.
The Chief of the Army staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai,who made this known during a call on the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson, said the army has deployed about three thousand officers and men, as well as equipment for the exercise, pointing out that, the number of personnel will be increased to ten thousand by next year.
Lt. General Buratai further disclosed that, the exercise is aimed at training officers in marine combat operations as the state is largely riverine and borders the Atlantic ocean, which could be prone to external aggression.
The Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), said the exercise is to also prepare the army against external aggression, just as the armed forces also need to be trained to forestall internal conflict.
He explained that, the military has also been engaged in promoting civil, military relationship in the areas of medical outreach to citizens, road maintenance and education, adding that, the military takes its rules of engagement seriously, even during conflicts.
In his response, the Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson identified dialogue and a clear road-map for development, as key to achieving lasting peace, security, law and order in the Niger Delta region.
Dickson stressed the importance of peace and security to the overall development the State, noting that, the state government has been working in close collaboration with the security agencies to ensure the security of lives and property as well as the protection of critical national assets.
He commended the Nigerian Armed Forces for its efficient and effective disposition and acting as the bastion and ultimate guarantor of the nation’s constitutional democracy, adding that, the officers and men have discharged their responsibility of defending the sovereignty of the country.
Hon. Dickson also called for the continued support and understanding of the people and communities to the ongoing military exercise in the State, pointing out that, it is intended to protect law abiding citizens and critical national assets.
Governor Dickson noted that, peace and security in Bayelsa, is critical to the stability of the Niger Delta, pointing out that, the State remains the epicentre of all the issues and challenges of development facing the region.
In his words “security can only be achieved when you have an effective and robust collaboration. This state understands the role of security which is the cornerstone of any meaningful and lasting development and that is what we are doing, working with the intelligence and law enforcement agencies, mobilising our community leaders at all levels.
“We have drawn up at all levels a dynamic synergy between all to ensure that our state and our region remain safe. If you are talking about security and stability in the Niger Delta region, you know that it has to start with Bayelsa because this is the epicentre of all the issues, challenges and all the contradictions that we have to deal with and all those issues are basically development”.