…Says Operation Atilogwu not target at any group

Angela Nwaeze Mbaocha

The Nigerian Army has commenced operation Atilogwu Udo 1 exercise to rid the south east zone of criminals these festive periods.Members of the Nigerian Army, some participants at the summitThis was revealed on Thursday by the Chief of Army Staff, General Tukur Buratai, during a 2-dayCivil-Media-Military Relation summit, to flag off the operation Atilogwu Udo 1, exercise in the South East zone.

The summit which was held at the 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, saw the presence of traditional rulers and other stakeholders from the zone.

The theme of the submit was ‘Galvanising citizens’ support for military operations through the media.

General Buratai noted that the fresh military operation exercise, Atilogwu Udo 1 for South-East geo-political zone which has commenced, replaced the popular Operation Python Dance which was carried out for three years.

He said the exercise was not targeted at any group or individual in the region, rather it will bring peace to the zone mostly as the yuletide celebration approaches.

Stating that just as the name Atilogwu Udo means dance of peace, that the exercise will bring peace to the zone, but war for criminals terrorizing south east.

Recall that the Proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), had recently claimed the exercise which replaced the Exercise Egwu Eke was targeted at its members.

Buratai pointed out that similar exercises would take place simultaneously in other regions to checkmate peculiar security issues in each region.

He was represented at the summit by the Chief of Training/Operations, Nigerian Army, Major General E. O. Udoh.

He added that the aim of the summit was to keep the public well informed about the activities of the Nigerian Army.

To also improve civilian-military relationship to ensure that the zone celebrates the festivities in peace, stressing that the exercise was to consolidate on previous exercises carried out in the region. Adding: “The exercise is strategically slated to be carried out during the yuletide season when there is upsurge in criminal activities.””

Ndigbo before the commencement of Exercise Egwu Eke a few years back dreaded coming home during the yuletide period because of rampant kidnapping, armed robbery and other criminal activities in the region.

“The exercise was very useful because it allowed Ndigbo to come home during the festive period. Atilogwu Udo 1 will consolidate on previous exercises and ensure peaceful and hitchfree yuletide celebration this year.

“In his keynote address, Enugu state governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, represented by the SSG, Prof. Simon Otuanya, said the programme was timely as the zone is passing through security challenges.

He was optimistic that the objective of the Atilogwu Udo 1 exercise would be achieved.On his part, Col. RA Adegboye, General Commanding officer 82 Division, said the summit organized by Chief of Army Staff, was to provide platform for the stakeholders to share ideas that will led to the success of the exercise.

And to also provide enabling environment that will contend the security challenges and ensure that the troops dominate all nooks and crannies of the South East zone.

Also, Asso. Professor Ifeanyi Didiugwu, did justice to his lecture, entitled “The Military, Media, Peace and National Development: Exercise Atilogwu Udo 1 in Perspective”.

He said that the misunderstanding that happened during the Python Dance exercise would not be recorded during the Atilogwu Udo 1 exercise, because the military have brought together stakeholders in different fields to educate them on the modalities of the exercise and other sundry issues.

He said that the military is one of the institutions that has come to protect the peoples territory and integrity.

He recommended that apart from protecting lives and properties, that the military should also do more in providing social services to the people.

Adding that the education Corps of the Army should be strengthened to reach the civilian populace
And above all, that adequate fund should be made available for the military to carry out it’s social responsibilities.

On his part, Col. Sadiu Musa, Editor-in-Chief/Acting Director Army Public Relations, noted that the summit was to further create cordial relationship between the military and the media.

He reiterated that the Atilogwu Udo 1 exercise is not targeted at any individual or group, rather for the best interest of the public.

He appealed to the media for it’s support during the activities in order to achieve the desire of the Chief of Army staff, which is to rid the zone of bad elements.

Adding that the media should continue to extend it’s cooperation and support “and not allow yourselves to be used by criminals by given them unnecessary publications.” he noted

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