The Nigerian Army Guards Brigade on Saturday organised a two kilometre race for students of secondary schools in Toto, Nasarawa State as parts of activities of Exercise Ayem Akpatuma 2.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the guards brigade had undertaken series of activities since the commencement of the exercise on Nov. 1 in the town.
The activities included Community sanitation, educational support for schools and medical outreach that offer free medical services to the people.
The Commander, Guard Brigade, Brig.-Gen. Muhammed Usman, represented by his Chief of Staff, Col. Kassim Sidi, said the race was a continuation of civil military cooperation embedded in Exercise Ayem Akpatuma 2.
Usman said that the brigade decided to organise a mini marathon among the secondary school students in the area to discover new talents.
According to him, Guards Brigade has the intention to do other sporting activities like volley ball and probably a football league.
“We are also looking at some educational contests like quiz and debate competition. It is a way of engaging the youths to have a meaningful engagement rather than sitting down doing nothing.
“Today, we have discovered some talents, people that we will be taking up to develop this running attitude in them and see what they become,” he said.
Usman said that various activities being carried out by the army had created cordial relationship between the civilian population and army personnel.
The Principal, Government Resettlement Secondary School, Toto, Mr Muhammed Isah, represented by the Dean of Study, Mr Suleiman Ibrahim, commended the activities of the military in the community in recent time.
Isah called on the army to extend the sporting activities to football, tennis among others to enable other members of the town to participate.
He also commended the presence of the military in the town, adding that the rate of crime that had bedeviled the area for some time has drastically reduced.
“Really, since I was born in this community I have never seen a military civilian relationship like this.
“What we usually think about the military is the use of force and gun but if this programme continue like this, then the military is will become the best friend of the civilians.
“Communal clashes have been one of the factors bedeviling the community but with this, even the devil can go to sleep.
“Your presence here has reduced and wiped away all the fears in our community and people are jubilating because they are happy,” he said.
The overall winner in male category, Abdul Usama, of Government Secondary School, Adadu, said he was happy to have won the gold medal in the competition.
Usama said that the exercise had boosted his interest to join the military in future.
The winner of female category, Maryam Ibrahim of GRSS Ukya, said that running has been her hobby and called on the government to support her to actualise her dream.
The Government Secondary School, Toto West, came first in team participation and performance, while GSS Toto Community came second and GRSS, Ukya came third.