The Nigerian Army has put an end to Exercise Ayem Akpatuma, also known as Operation Cat Race, nearly three months after it commenced in six states across the country.
To combat growing unrest in the country amid a spate of worrying criminal activities, the Army launched Exercise Ayem Akpatuma in Benue, Taraba, Kogi, Nasarawa, Kaduna and Niger in February 2018. While the exercise was intended to run until March 31, it was extended in some states to further consolidate on the gains achieved and facilitate the Army's efforts in ridding the affected areas of militants and other criminal elements.
In a statement signed by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, on Tuesday, May 15, 2018, the military exercise has officially come to an end in Taraba, Benue and Kogi states after achieving its purpose of aiding the civil authority to maintain peace and security.
The statement read, "The Nigerian Army flagged off Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA on the 20th February 2018 to practice troops in the North Central and parts of North West on planning and conduct of "Military Operations Other Than War".
"The Exercise was also aimed at further sustaining Nigerian Army's constitutional roles of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria as well as aiding the civil authority to maintain peace and security. Exercise "AYEM AKPATUMA" recorded tremendous successes inspite challenges. The Exercise was sustained in some areas in order to consolidate on the gains.
"However, having consolidated on the gains achieved and the Nigerian Army's effort of ridding the affected areas of militants and other criminal elements, the Army wishes to conclude Exercise AYEM AKPATUMA earlier extended in Benue, Taraba and Kogi States on 14 May 2018.
"The Nigerian Army wishes to express its appreciation to the States government, Traditional Rulers, Religious and Youth leaders as well as other stakeholders for their cooperation and support to the Nigerian Army for the period of the exercise."
Despite the army's termination of the exercise, many, especially state governments, have called for a more wholesome military operation to rid troubled states of criminal elements especially suspected cattle herders and local militias who have killed hundreds in 2018.