SERAP, EiE, BudgIT Ask Buratai To Account For Money Spent Fighting Boko Haram, Others

Army To Be Self-Reliant In Combat Vehicle Production By 2025
Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant-General Tukur Buratai

 

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Enough is Enough (EiE), and BudgIT have demanded details of spending on Operation Lafiya Dole and Operation Crocodile smile from the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai.

To ensure their demand is met, the three groups have sent a joint Freedom of Information request to the army chief.

Specifically, they want General Buratai to “urgently provide information on the 2015, 2016 and 2017 budget implementation reports of the Nigerian Army”.

The information demanded includes “the amounts released (financial implications) and expended in the fiscal years 2015, 2016, and 2017 for various operations the army carried out”.

All three civil society organisations disclosed their demands in a joint statement on Sunday. The statement was signed by Bamisope Adeyanju for SERAP, Seun Akinyemi for EiE Nigeria, and Atiku Samuel for BudgIT.

Other army operations for which they demanded information on the amount released and expended in 2015, 2016 and 2017 are Operation Safe Haven, Operation Python Dance, Operation Ruwan Wuta, Operation Delta Safe, Operation Mesa, Operation Harbin Kunama, Operation Awatse, and Operation Tsera Teku.

According to the statement, the FoI request was sent to the Army last week.
“Transparency of the budget process and its implementation is an essential condition to achieve good governance,” the groups said in defence of their request.

“The reports, if provided and published, will shed light on military spending and put to rest once and for all the perceived lack of transparency and accountability in the spending of military budgets, which has been a subject of intense public debate and concern.”

The groups intend to follow the FoI request up with legal action if it is not successful.

“If the requested information is not provided within 14 days of the receipt and/or publication of this letter, our organizations shall take all appropriate legal action under the Freedom of Information Act to compel you to comply with our request,” they said.

As far as the groups are concerned, the funds allocated to the military have not yielded the desired results, hence the request.

They said, “Several billions of naira allocated to the military to defend the country and protect its people have neither contributed to improving the ability of Nigerian soldiers to fight Boko Haram and other armed groups nor provided the much-needed security especially for Nigerians in the North-east of the country.”

While they noted that the FoI Act exempted the disclosure of some classes of information, they stressed that they took that into consideration and stressed that in their request.

The FOI request read in part: “The information being requested does not come within the purview of the types of information exempted from disclosure by the provisions of the FOI Act.

“The information requested for, apart from not being exempted from disclosure under the FOI Act, would serve the national interest, public welfare, public interest and peace, human rights, good governance, transparency and accountability.

“By virtue of Section 1(1) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, we are entitled as of right to request for or gain access to information, including information on 2015, 2016 and 2017 budget implementation reports of the Nigerian Army, and the amounts released (financial implications) and expended in fiscal years 2015, 2016 and 2017 for the various operations listed, which have yielded no tangible result.

“Also, by virtue of Section 4(a) of the FOI Act, when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or agency to whom the application is directed is under a binding legal obligation to provide the applicant with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.”

Crocodile Smile: Army Preaches Peace To Warring Communities In Delta

 

The Nigerian Army has kicked off an initiative aimed at maintaining peace in the restive Delta State communities of Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh.

Led by the General Officer Commanding (6) division of the Nigerian Army Maj. Gen. Jamil Sarham, the military team visited both communities on Saturday, urging them to shun violence and embrace peace.

According to the force, the initiative called the Operation Crocodile Smile (III), seeks to build a strong relationship between the military and residents, while protecting oil facilities.

Addressing community chiefs and the traditional ruler, the GOC said, “We solicit your understanding, support and cooperation throughout the period of the exercise and we urge you to always use dialogue to resolve your differences.

“We are here to conduct operation crocodile smile three 2018’’ in your domain, soldiers are servants of the people, we are agents of peace, we engender development”.

Sarham later led his team to the army set up camp at the border of both communities where he inspected a guard of honour.

Thereafter, the team proceeded to the IDP camp in Ogbe-Ijaw where they donated food items and other relief materials to the flood victims.

Operation Crocodile Smile II Will Tackle Security Threats In Niger Delta – Military

The General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Adamu Baba Abubakar has reassured the people of the Niger Delta region of continuous commitment to fight terrorism along its maritime domain.

The GOC said this after the flag off exercise of the Operation Crocodile Smile II in Calabar, the Cross River State Capital.

The Operation according to the military is aimed at tackling armed banditry, militancy, oil pipeline vandalism, illegal oil bunkering, cultism, kidnapping amongst other vices threatening the security of the region.

READ ALSO: Military Begins Operation Crocodile II In Rivers

Carrying out the exercise at the Coastal area of Cross River State from Ikang to Calabar,  the GOC said the riverine patrol will go a long way to combating criminal tendencies that might arise in the state.

“Crocodile Smile cut across three or four divisions. What we have done on the land is what we are doing again. We have conducted an aggressive control of the Coastal area of Cross River State. What the soldiers are doing is to protect our coastal areas with the Navy,” Abubakar said.

Military Begins Operation Crocodile II In Rivers

'Operation Python Dance' To Be Conducted Annually – Army
File Photo

The Operation 6 Division of the Nigerian Army has begun Operation Crocodile Smile II in Niger Delta, holding multi-agency confidence building patrol in Rivers State.

The exercise according to the military is to combat the menace of kidnapping, armed robbery and other criminalities in the region.

Alongside the operation, the military held a multi-agency confidence building patrol bringing together the Army, Police, DSS, Civil Defence, Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC) officials at its headquarters in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

The operation involves the movement of troops and trucks through some major streets in the city.

READ ALSO: Military Begins Operation Crocodile Smile II, Calls For Cooperation

According to the General Officer Commanding, 6 Division, Major General Enobong Udoh, the exercise is aimed at reassuring the public of the army and other sister services and security agencies to work together and eliminate crimes within the society.

He said the operation is aimed at maintaining peace and tranquility in the region and not a show of force or brutality.

“We are gathered here for a confidence-building patrol not a show of force. The soldier is not the enemy of the police, the police is not the enemy of the Civil Defence. We are all brothers working for the same goal.

“Wherever you see a soldier, you have seen your brother, wherever you see a DSS officer, you have seen your brother, wherever you see a road safety, you have seen your brother. All of us are working for the same goal,” he said.

Military Begins Operation Crocodile Smile II, Calls For Cooperation

'Operation Python Dance' To Be Conducted Annually – Army
File Photo

The Nigeria Army has commenced Operation Crocodile Smile II, and called for the cooperation of residents of the Niger Delta states of Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers following the deployment of troops in that region.

The army spokesperson, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu in a release on Monday said the deployment is in line with the Nigerian Army training directive for the year 2017.

“The operation by the 6 division Nigerian Army Port Harcourt aims at training troops on the importance of equipment maintenance, handling of internally displaced persons and captured or surrendered hostile elements in line with international best practices.

“The exercise codenamed Crocodile Smile 2 also targets the provision of free medical services to residents, distribution of educational materials to schools and conduct of sanitation exercises with the area of focus.”

READ ALSO:  COAS Flags-Off Operation Crocodile Smile In C/River

He said this year’s operation Crocodile Smile II which will be conducted from October 7-28, 2017 within the entire Niger Delta region is intended to practice troops on admin, operational, logistics as well as Civil-Military Cooperation aspects in a military operation

“It will also avail troops the opportunity to sharpen their combat skills in the conduct of land-based as well as joint riverine operations.

“The exercise will also aim at imparting to the troops the importance of equipment maintenance, reconnaissance, inter-service and inter-agency cooperation, effective application of the Nigerian Army Code of Conduct as well as strict adherence to Rules of Engagement (ROE), proffer handling of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs),  captured or surrendered hostile elements in line with international best practices.”

He, therefore, calls for understanding and cooperation during the period of the exercise and beyond, allaying the fears of the general public as they will witness increased movements of troops and equipment during the period.

COAS Flags-Off Operation Crocodile Smile In C/River

Nigerian ArmyThe Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Buratai Tukur, has reassured the people of Niger Delta region of the continuous desire of government to fight terrorism along its maritime domain.

The Army boss gave the reassurance shortly after the flag-off exercise of the Operation Crocodile Smile in Calabar, the Cross River State capital.

Carrying out the exercise at the Amphibious Training School in Calabar, the Army boss said, the Launch of the Crocodile Smile exercise in the State will go a long way to combating criminal tendencies that might arise in the State.

Lt Gen. Buratai, however, identified logistics as one of the major challenges that might hinder the smooth running of the exercise, but noted that government has been supportive towards this regard, while suing for the continuous support of residents around to avail the Army with useful information, security wise.

Buratai later commissioned some boats donated by the Federal Government to boost the effective patrol of creeks around the maritime domain of the state and the South South region at large.

The Army boss, who paid a courtesy call on the Deputy Governor of the State, Mr Evara Esu, where he commended the state government for the support and co-operation enjoyed by the Army and other security agencies in the state.

Nigerian Army Makes Progress In ‘Crocodile Smile’ Operation

Niger-Delta-Military-OperationsTroops of 4 Brigade Nigerian Army, have commenced a field training exercise nicknamed Operation ‘Crocodile Smile’ in Delta state, on Sunday.

The officers were said to have mounted gunboats, speedboats and so far, reported to have made tremendous progress as they have raided suspected criminal hideouts in the creeks around Ajaosolo, Okogho, Opumani, and Obodo general area.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, flagged-off the exercise on Saturday in Sapele, Delta State.

During the exercise, he said that the Nigerian Army has a mandate to provide adequate security for residents as well as critical national economic assets in the region.

While conducting the exercise, on Sunday August 28 2016, they intercepted a suspected illegal oil bunkerer with 1 “Cotonou Boat” laden with crude oil, 3 X 40 Horse power Yamaha Speedboats and 5 X 200 Litres of illegally refined diesel oil.

Similarly, the troops continued conducting the training exercise near Bomadi town, Bomadi Local Government Area and Pendo and Tuomu of Bururtu Local Government Area of Delta State respectively.

Two suspects, Mr Tokolo Sawyer and Miss Showman Ebi-ere were arrested at ‘Loveth Plaza’, while Mr Kingsley Ebidimo and 7 others with unidentified mission, were equally arrested as they were found to be in possession of substance believed to be Marijuana, 1 Axe, 2 Cutting Saw and a long iron bender also in their hideouts.

The suspects have been handed over to the Nigerian Police at Bomadi alongside the exhibits.

The troops have not relented on their efforts and have been fortified with more supporting weapons, such as a Main Battle Tank, 2 Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and 3 Scorpion Tanks from the Headquarters of the Nigerian Armour Corps.

In addition, as part of the training exercise, the troops have been carrying out patrols along waterways in the creeks.

In that process, they recovered 2 “Cotonou Boats” and a 75 Horse Power Speedboat, 30 X 200 Litres plastic drums containing liquid suspected to be illegally refined crude oil in the creeks at Ovwahwa in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State in the afternoon of Sunday 28th August 2016.

Three suspected persons, Messrs College Owahwa, Joseph Katte and Olisa Patrick, found around the vicinity have been arrested and are currently being questioned.

Following intelligence reports, 2 illegal crude oil refineries were identified and destroyed by the exercising troops traversing Ayakoromo and Esaba water ways in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.

Later on that day, 2 Pumping Machines and sets of new pipes used for the construction of illegal refineries and siphoning were found in the bush. Two suspects were interrogated to ascertain their involvement on the recovered items.

The Military in its fight to rid Nigeria of insurgents, has expressed hopes that security would be restored in the south-south region at the end of the exercise.