By Henry Oladele
The professionalism and determination of ‘Operation Deep Punch 2’ led to the fall of Sambisa Forest in the North East part of the country.
The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said this at the 2018 West Africa Social Activities (WASA) programme which ended late on Saturday in Apapa, Lagos.
He was represented by Maj.-Gen. Enobong Udoh, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division of the Nigerian Army.
The COAS said that the operation and other exercises, which were part of the training activities for the army in 2017, helped to curtail criminal activities in parts of the country.
According to him, WASA is one of the ways of keeping the traditions of the army.
He explained that it was usually organised to mark the end of a training year and the beginning of another.
“Various field training exercises such as ‘Shirin Harbi,’ ‘Harbin Kunama 2’ and ‘Crocodile Smile 2’ were successfully conducted in all parts of the country in 2017.
“The climax of these exercises and operations was the ‘Operation Deep Punch 2’ in the North East, which led to the fall of the Sambisa Forest.
“These exercises have notably gone a long way in curbing and reducing criminality and other crimes across the country,’’ he said.
Similarly, the COAS said that exercise ‘Ayem Akpatuma’ , which is currently ongoing, was yielding significant results.
Buratai advised the men and officers of the Nigerian Army to remain focused, dedicated and resilient in order to consolidate on the achievements recorded so far.
“As we commence another training cycle, I urge you all to remain committed to ensuring peace and stability across the country.
“You must remain focused, dedicated and resilient in order to consolidate on the achievements so far recorded.’’
The COAS noted that the 2017 training year saw the revival of army activities, hitherto, suspended.
He, therefore, urged the officers and men of the army to remain proactive in the discharge of their duties.
He expressed delight that the Nigerian Army Sports Festival had been successfully revived after a seven-year break.
He urged the army to remain proactive in the discharge of their duties and assured the officers and men that the government would continue to prioritise their welfare.
“We will provide decent accommodation and other social amenities to our personnel.
“We will also ensure that our troops get adequate logistics in all operational areas in 2018,” Buratai said.
Earlier, the Chief of Accounts and Budget (NAFC), Maj.-Gen. Jahadi Jakko said that the Nigerian Army had successfully been operating under the Treasury Single Account (TSA) .
Jakko commended the soldiers for their discipline and dedication to duty during the year.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that WASA is an annual event aimed at promoting team spirits and confidence within and outside the barracks.
It is also a forum for informal, social interaction and avenue for the barrack community to showcase the rich and diverse cultures of the country.
The colourful event featured tug-of-war, dances by cultural groups and presentation of gifts and awards to distinguished soldiers and guests.