By Muftau Ogunyemi
Ugbo(Ondo State) – The Nigerian Army on Sunday provided free medical services to people of Ugbo community in Ilaje Local Government area of Ondo State.
Brig. Gen. Zakari Abubakar, the Commander of 32 Artillery Brigade, said that the gesture was part of on-going exercise of Crocodile Smile lV in the area.
He said that the gesture was to enhance the life of the people in the area.
According to Abubakar, it is also to cement the relationship between the military and civil populace.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Nigerian Army had earlier donated some computers, printers, exercise books, generators, stationary and sporting materials to schools at Atijere community in Ilaje Local Government area on Nov.13.
NAN also reports that the gesture was part of civil-military activities as Crocodile Smile IV flag off in the southern part of Ondo State will last from Nov.8 to Dec. 23, 2019.
Abubakar said that the medical services delivered included services at the general outpatient department for general consultation, general eye examination, health education, oral care, laboratory investigations, issuance of free mosquito nets and drugs.
He thanked the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, and General Officer Commanding 2 Division,Ibadan, Maj. Gen. Anthony Omozoje, for they exemplary leadership and for finding the Brigade worthy of hosting the exercise and approving the civil-military activities.
“The COAS is particularly concerned about the health and well being of our community knowing fully that health is wealth. It is in this light that he has taken by his step to provide this medical outreach.
“The objective is for you to embrace peace and shun every act of violence and criminality.
“COAS believes with peace, come development. There will not be development without peace,” Abubakar said.
,Maj. James Agbe, the Commanding Officer, 32 Artillery Brigade Medical Centre, Akure, said that one of the services rendered was to teach people on how to brush.
“We also rendering free eye care handled by specialists, free toothpaste and brushes, free drugs for common ailment in the community, free mosquito net to prevent mosquito bite considering the environment in which they living as riverine area.
“Community should take the advantage of the services being provided by COAS to make maximum use of the services and drugs effectively, ” Agbe admonished.
In his welcome address, Oba Akinruntan Obateru,Olugbo of Ugbo kingdom, who was represented by the High Chief Hosea Iperepolu and Chairman of Ugbo Council of Chiefs, commended the gesture.
He said that the gesture would bring cordial relationship between the Nigerian Army and the community.
“The exercise is laudable one because we all know that health is wealth.
“This will bring cordial relationship between civilian and Nigerian Army. People are always afraid of Army, but with this new development, people will not see them as their enemy.
“When Army starts to come nearer to the people like this, people will be able to interact with them and it will reduce the rate of insurgency, kidnapping and all unnecessary crime in the societies,” he said.
Obateru charged the community to see the Nigerian Army as their friend and admonished the Army to continue with their good relationship so that people would not see them as their enemy.
The monarch promised Nigerian Army that Ugbo kingdom would continue to support and cooperate with them so that the issue of kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and many other crimes would reduce in the area.
One of the participants, Mr Akin Adetuo, a 60-year-old farmer with eye problem, thanked the Nigerian Army for the gesture.
“I am here with my eye problem so that I can see very well, but with the service rendered by Army today am very happy. May Almighty God help them as they choose to help us,” he said.
Mr Maigba Israel, who said that he came from the neighboring town near Ugbo kingdom for stomach ache and eye problem, urged the Nigerian Army to continue to support civilians, especially on health related issues.
“I am not from Ugbo kingdom, but I am from Ugbo-Nla town.
“I believe this services will go a long way for our people, especially for me because I don’t have money to go to hospital that is why when I heard that Nigerian Army is giving free eye service, I left my food to benefit from the services,” he said.