By fabulous reporter
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja has initiated a significant milestone by simultaneously commencing three comprehensive training exercises in Lagos. These exercises, known as EXERCISE STILL WATERS 3, GOLDEN DAWN 3, and ENDURING PEACE 3, aim to safeguard lives and property across the nation as the year approaches its end.
According to an official statement signed by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu, the exercises are strategically designed to address the distinct security challenges in the South South, South East, South West, and North Central regions of Nigeria. They will run concurrently in their respective geopolitical zones until the close of the year.
General Lagbaja emphasized that these exercises are crucial for tackling the emerging security threats specific to the affected geopolitical zones. The intention is to mitigate any escalation of these challenges, particularly in the last quarter of the year when many Nigerians travel across the country during the festive season. Ensuring a safe and enabling environment for citizens to conduct their lawful activities without fear is the paramount objective.
In his address, General Lagbaja charged the troops to execute their duties diligently while strictly adhering to the law and established codes of conduct. He underscored, “We should not be a problem to the citizens we are trying to protect.”
Furthermore, the COAS inaugurated “EXERCISE CLEAN SWEEP” at the Ikeja Cantonment in Lagos. This operation’s primary goal is to completely clear unexploded explosive ordnances from the site of the unfortunate 2002 bomb blast that occurred at the Nigerian Army Cantonment in Maryland, Ikeja, Lagos.
General Lagbaja emphasized that the initial clearance operations had provided some level of safety in the Cantonment and its surroundings. However, the recent discovery of unexploded explosive ordnances necessitated a follow-up clearance exercise. This exercise will span 61 days.
He reassured the public, especially residents of Lagos and Ogun states, not to panic when they witness the movement of special military vehicles or hear controlled explosions during the exercise. Stringent safety and security measures have been put in place to ensure the exercise proceeds without accidents. Additionally, relevant emergency and response agencies, including the Nigeria Police, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, Federal Road Safety Corps, State Emergency Management Agency, and medical personnel, will collaborate to guarantee a successful exercise in compliance with global best practices.
General Lagbaja expressed appreciation to the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, for unwavering support to the Nigerian Army in fulfilling its constitutional responsibilities. He pledged that measures would be taken to prevent a recurrence of such unfortunate incidents within Nigerian Army Cantonments.
Dignitaries present at the event included the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwoolu, represented by the Chief of Staff, Mr. Tayo Ayinde; HRH Oba Adeyemi Ajasa, the Oba of Onigbongbo Kingdom; Corps Commanders; Principal Staff Officers of the Army Headquarters; General Officer Commanding 81 Division; Air Officer Commanding Logistics Command; and heads of security agencies in Lagos State, among others.
The COAS concluded the day with a courtesy visit to the Oba of Lagos, His Royal Majesty Oba Rilwan Akiolu I, and a visit to Headquarters 192 Battalion in Owode, Ogun State.