Speaking at the event at Orsu in Orsu Local Government Area, the Commander, 34 Artillery Brigade, Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Sani Suleiman, said the exercise will last till Jan. 4, 2023.
“It is aimed at promoting civilian-military cooperation among locals through medical outreach and participation in community activities,” he said.
Suleiman said the Nigerian Army has continued to conduct internal security operations and exercises to combat criminal activities bedeviling the country.
He said in recent times, the South-East and Imo in particular, had experienced an upsurge of security challenges, ranging from kidnapping, banditry, armed robbery, oil bunkering, assassination and insurgency, among others.
The commander said that the exercise is in line with the directive of the army headquarters, which also mandated that super camps be established in various sectors.
“During this period, troops shall be conducting covert and overt operations to dislodge and dominate all identified criminal strongholds.
“Roadblocks will be established where necessary to deny movement of criminal elements.
“All these is to create peaceful environment for law-abiding citizens to move freely and celebrate the yuletide period,” he said.
In his remarks, Gov. Hope Uzodimma, who flagged-off the exercise, urged Imo indigenes and residents alike to cooperate with the security agencies deployed to the state to keep the peace and maintain law and order.
Uzodimma said the operation became necessary because the yuletide is a period that all “our beloved brothers and sisters far and near come home to celebrate the festive period with us.
“It is therefore the time that we need to put all security measures in place so as to have uninterrupted celebrations.
“This exercise will go a long way in improving the security situation in our state and entire geo-political zone, giving our people a sense of security and encouraging our brothers and sisters to come home without fear,” he said.
Uzodimma, who noted that his administration had invested so much in security, said the security situation in the state is fast improving.
The governor appealed to those involved in any form of criminality in the state to desist from such or face the wrath of the law.
Also speaking, the Operations Officer of the Exercise, Capt. Joseph Akubo, listed major flash points for the operation to include Orlu, Orsu, Ideator North and South, Okigwe, Oru East and West, Oguta-Izombe.
According to him, the exercise is designed to consolidate the ongoing operations against the activities of the proscribed and other criminal elements.
“It is aimed at checkmating the activities of the outlawed elements and their affiliate groups and improve the security situation during the yuletide season and forthcoming general elections,” Akubo said.
The high point of the event was the inspection of the facilities within the Division in readiness for the operation.