The Nigerian Army has intensified a process of ensuring peace in Nembe Local Government Area, known for its volatility in Bayelsa State during elections, as part of its preparations to commence Operation Crocodile Smiles.
The Commander, 16 Brigade of the army, Brig.-Gen. Valentine Okoro, at the weekend appealed to residents of the area to display the same spirits of sportsmanship in a football match during all the stages of the election.
Okoro spoke at the Nembe City Stadium at the weekend after a football match organised by the army between an indigenous football club, Nembe Football Club and 16 Brigade Nigerian Amy Football Club ahead of the election.
Okoro, who was the special guest of honour at the event, said the football match was in line with the military’s advocacy and campaigns to promote peaceful cohabitation in communities.
He said: “We have gone the extra miles of demonstrating to the people of Nembe City what sportsmanship should be all about. We expect that in the coming elections the people will also imbibe this spirit of sportsmanship.
“In every contest there’s a winner and a looser, and there’s no point to be bitter about it. The Operation Crocodile Smile 4 will commence soon. The operation is to cut violence and promote peace and security in the community. Security is everybody’s business and we are stakeholders in the business of peace in Nembe and Bayelsa State”.
Also speaking, a community leader, Chief Amabebe Alfred, described the army gesture as a welcome development and commended the force for deepening its relationship with civilians.
Alfred said: “These are the military and the civilians coming together to play a match. Before we could not go close to the military, but now the military and the civilians coming together to play game I think it’s a good thing.
“We need peace and because we have peace today we are here, if there’s violence you cannot come to this place, so we advise the youths to work with the military, give them intelligence report, where ever there’s danger, they can go and handle that.”
The Nembe Football Club won the match with a lone goal scored by scored by Jackson Ingobere and got a cash award of N100, 000.
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