Troops of the Nigerian Army have been deployed to the Niger Delta states for the commencement of Operation Crocodile Smile II.
This was disclosed on Saturday by the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Maj.-Gen. Enobong Udoh.
He said:“Operation Crocodile Smile is not a show of force but a confidence building patrol that seeks to reassure the people of Rivers state and the Niger Delta that the army is ready to work.
"We are ready to work in close synergy and collaboration with other security services and agencies of government to ensure that there is peace and security for the people.
"Our operation aims to reassure the public that we are ready to fight crimes like cultism, militancy, and kidnapping so that people can go about their business without fear,” he said.
The troops are to be aided in the campaign by men of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and the Department of State Security (DSS).
The exercise would hold from October 7 until October 28 in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states.
Meanwhile, some militants have threatened to attack the soldiers deployed in the oil-rich region. The militants, who spoke through the Niger Delta Peoples Democratic Front, said the heavy presence of soldiers in the area was unnecessary.
Leader of the group, General Playboy, said in a statement, "I am writing this statement as I was coming out of a meeting with members of our group and we believe that the government is trying to make the youths angry with the recent deployment of soldiers in the Niger Delta region.
"The level of militancy is very low and there is no longer attacks on oil installations in the region. So, we want to know why troops are deployed in the region. Do they want to kill our people the way they killed some Igbo in the South - East.
"We are asking them ( troops ) to leave our region immediately otherwise we will attack them. We don't have any problem here and therefore , we do not need the deployment of soldiers".