Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Nigerian Army wednesday deployed several teachers to selected schools in Bayelsa State in continuation of its preparation for the commencement of Operation Crocodile Smile 4, an annual exercise geared towards ridding key flashpoints of crimes in the Niger Delta region.
The Commander 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Yenagoa, Brig. Gen Valentine Okoro, who visited the Ijaw National Academy (INA) in Kaiama, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area of the state, Central Epie Secondary School, Opolo in Yenagoa and Community Secondary School, Otuasega in Ogbia Local Government Area, said the professional teachers who are personnel of the Nigerian Army would take specific subjects in which the schools are deficient.
The commander, who donated sports items, books, desks, mathematical sets and other items to the various schools, urged the beneficiaries to reciprocate by staying away from crimes and reporting people with criminal tendencies to the authorities.
He added that though the deployment of the military teachers was temporarily, it would go a long way to complementing the efforts of the government and other bodies interested in the education of the youths.
The military commander, who had earlier presented medical items to some schools in the brigade’s Area of Operation (AOR), warned the young people against cultism and other anti-social behaviour.
“This exercise in tune with the Chief of Army Staff’s vision is premised on having a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles. The Chief of Army Staff places a lot of premium on the educational development of our youths in this country.
“He believes that initiatives like this will encourage a sizeable number of youths and students to contribute meaningfully to the society. Mentoring of youths is important in this country to the Nigerian army. You must shun all criminal activities, violence and continue to promote good citizenry.
“You must also shun illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism. You must say no to cultism, sea piracy and report illegal activists to security agencies. Report anybody who is threatening the society,” he said.
On the deployment of teachers, the military commander said: “They are qualified and professional teachers who are serving in the Army. After consultation with the school authority, we have identified some areas which they are deficient. In those subject areas, the soldiers will be providing assistance accordingly.”
He urged the people of the state to cooperate fully during the Operation Crocodile Smile 4, noting that they had nothing to fear during the exercise.
He noted that while carrying (kinetic) operations like raids, cordon and search as well as clearance operation, the military has also identified that investing in the development of young people would pay off in the long term.
Representative of the Bayelsa State Government, Jonathan Obuebite, the Commissioner for Education, said the gesture would endear the students and residents to the Army.
Obuebite, who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mr. Tony Tombri, urged other security agencies to emulate the Nigerian Army and charged the Army to make the gesture more often.
The paramount rulers of the benefitting communities lauded the initiative and said the gesture would foster military/community relations.
“This means a lot to the community. We have not seen this kind of thing before. It’s the first of its kind. So, we are glad that the Army has come to intervene in terms of our children’s education,” said Gabriel Ekezie on behalf of the traditional rulers