Akpan Etukudoh Asare
from the 13 Brigade of Nigerian Army as well as those from the Amphibious Training School and 146 Battalion trooped out in their numbers early Saturday morning and massively cleaned the Watts market and the adjoining streets.
Addressing the troops, dignitaries and onlookers at the Watt market circle, the Brigade commander, Brigadier TO Olatoye said apart from being an annual event within the army, it was to begin the celebration of Nigeria Army Day (NADCEL) and to commemorate 156 years of Nigeria Army.
The soldiers armed themselves with shovels, brooms, wheelbarrows, evacuating truck and thoroughly cleaned and evacuated the wastes which had littered the market since the previous night.
Olatoye said it was a way of giving back to the society, a corporate social responsibility, and to appreciate the host communities for being good with them.
He reassured Nigerians of their capability and readiness to work with other security agencies in the state to provide safe environment for residents and businesses to thrive.
Olatoye said the collective efforts of the army and other agencies can engender greater socio-political stability in the country and Cross River in particular.
He said the Brigade as well as the army as a whole will remain loyal to President Muhammadu Buhari and his government as a way of sustaining peace and greatness.
“The exercise was to mark 156 years of the Nigerian Army as well as to sensitise the public towards the upcoming Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL) in July 2019.
“We will work in concert with other sister security agencies to provide safe environment for residents of Cross River State and Nigerians as a whole. We do this to ensure that businesses in to market and in the state and beyond remain safe and thriving.
“We want the host communities which have been cordial with us to replicate this little effort we have done here today to consolidate on the status of Calabar as the cleanness state capital in Nigeria.”
“NADCEL was first marked in 1978 in Lagos during General Olusegun Obasanjo’s military government. The main aim is to remind us that tactful and skillful dialoguing is far better than resorting to arm conflict.”
Speaking for Governor Ben Ayade, chairman of the state task force on sanitation, Eric Anderson commended the Brigade for such exemplary act, which has helped the state to sustain its cleanliness status, adding that on 27 July there would be statewide sanitation.
The traders appreciated the soldiers with donation of soft drinks and beverages as a way of appreciating them for cleaning their markets.
President general of the Capital Traders Association in Watt Market, Elder Ededet Andem said the army has shown them good example even though, they, too, have sanitation brigade in the market.