We need heavy military presence in Cross River – Ayade tells Buratai

In order to sustain the prevailing peace in Calabar, the Cross River governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, on Wednesday demanded heavy presence of military operatives in the State.

He made the appeal when the Chief of army staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, paid him a courtesy visit in Calabar.

Represented by his deputy, Prof Ivara Esu, Ayade applauded Buratai’s sterling leadership qualities, narrating how the army’s proactive intervention had helped to checkmate the activities of militants in the state, recently.

The governor expressed the state’s readiness to partner the army towards ensuring the success of her ongoing training in the Niger Delta, tagged ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile.’

“In all my life, I have never seen a chief of army staff that has always been right in the war front; motivating his soldiers and officers.

“We have no choice as a government than to give you all the corporation you need in this your new task, ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile.’

“In Cross River State, we need heavy presence of the military because we need to sustain the peace to enable us carry on with the job we are doing here”, he said.

Earlier, in his remark, Buratai said he was in the state to formally flagoff ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile, currently ongoing in the Niger Delta region, in Cross River State.

He said the training exercise became necessary in order to ensure the mental and physical fitness of his men, especially those operating in a riverine terrain.

The army chief said with the recent uprising in the Niger Delta region, no stone will be left unturned to give soldiers and officers of the Amphibious Training School in Calabar, the desired training in order to protect the nation’s territorial integrity.

In the COAS entourage were; the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 82 division, Major Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, Flag Officer Commanding (FOC),Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, Commander, 13 Brigade, Brig. Gen. Bulama Biu, among other service chiefs in the state.