By Eseoghene Emuke
The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai on Thursday flagged off Exercise Egwu Eke lll at the newly inaugurated 63 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Asaba, Delta State.
Buratai, who was represented by the GOC, 6 Division, Major General Jamil Sarham, said the exercise is aimed to checkmate the security challenges being witnessed in the Niger Delta region.
He added that criminal elements could cash in on the security situation in the region to perpetrate large scale of violence before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
The Chief of Army Staff, who flagged of the exercise immediately after the inauguration of the 63 Brigade, however dismissed insinuation that Operation Python Dance lll has political undertone ahead of the 2019 general elections.
Buratai stated that the Nigerian Army would always remain non-partisan and called on Nigerians to always support its activities gear towards protecting the country.
He added that the establishment of the 63 Brigade was necessary for the continual protection of the nation.
According to him, “The exercise is to checkmate the security challenges being witnessed in the region such as militancy, kidnapping and banditry portend that dissident groups and criminal elements could cash in on the situation to perpetrate large scale of violence before, during and after the 2019 general elections.”
He, however, commended the Delta State Government for providing temporary take-off for the Brigade.
Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, who led top government functionaries to the inauguration, tasked security agencies in the country on the need for information sharing to proactively tackle security challenges in the country.
He said, “I congratulate the Nigerian Army for setting up the 63 Brigade; Delta State is a peaceful state, but, we welcome actions that will consolidate on the existing peace.
“Sharing of information among security agencies will have a lot of impact on checking security challenges in the country; security agencies have done a lot for us to have peace and secure oil facilities in our state, but, I must appreciate the roles played by our traditional rulers and stakeholders who also, assisted us in achieving peace.”
“With the coming of the 63 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, we will have more men to secure our state; we will continue to assist in whatever ways we can for you to carry out your functions”, Okowa added.