IGP VISIT:MILITARY PLANS TO ESTABLISH PERMANENT BASE AT MAJIDUN ,LAGOS TO CHECKMATE MILITANTS,PIPELINE VANDALS
Security forces yesterday described uncompleted structures, houses built on the right of way and isolated bushes in Lagos and Ogun riverine communities as threats that must be dismantled.
Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ibrahim Idris, who was in the area yesterday, told ground forces to demolish houses belonging to militants or their conspirators as they did in the northeast during the fight against Boko Haram.
The ground forces have been mopping up the creeks since Tuesday after the Nigerian Air Force concluded its aerial bombardment of the areas.
Over 40 camps were destroyed at Ishawo creek and security operatives have recovered items such as two locally-made guns, two generators, eight Dane guns, 32 live cartridges, two laptops, one magazine, AK47 and a magazine of GPMG.
Also recovered were handcuffs, 18 cutlasses, two Mobile Police badges, two bank withdrawal booklets, voter cards, bank deposit slips and others.
Idris, who was at Ishawo to assess the situation, hailed the military for the successes recorded under Operation Awatse.
He urged fleeing residents to return to their homes and cooperate with security forces by providing information, just as he assured them of their safety and peace.
“We are here to see the theatre of war, as well as support our officers. To boost their morale so that they can do more than what they have done. I have been in Lagos and I have heard so much and it is our responsibility to assist the men on the operation they are doing, especially in the area of deploying most of our marine police here, which we are going to do and to also encourage the residents of the local community.
“We are here together, you can see police, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) as well as the military. So, it is an indication that the police is everywhere.
“As I discussed with our officers on the ground, anybody having connection with enemies of the society, we will demolish their houses – that was the practice we adopted in fighting Boko Haram elements.”
Similarly, the Operation’s Chairman, Rear Admiral Fergusson Bobai, who took a tour of Ishawo, Elepete, Arepo and Ibafo creeks, hinted of plans by the military to establish permanent base at Majidun, Ikorodu.
He added that outposts would be mounted in other troubled communities to deter the gunmen from returning.
Rear Admiral Bobai stated that the inaccessibility of the affected areas as well as the absence of security agencies emboldened the militants to carry out their criminal activities with impunity.
Bobai noted the need for the government to approve the demolition of structures built on the Nigerian National Petroleum Company’s (NNPC) right of way, insisting that they posed hindrances to security operations.
Confirming that the militants have been completely chased from the areas visited, Bobai said the military was working towards running them out of Fatola, their supposed headquarters.
“We are looking forward to the government building permanent structures for us at Majidun as the headquarters for Operation Awatse and then we will have our outposts where men are deployed.
“We have started ground operations after the NAF finished its air bombardment. However, the Air Force is still providing support to the ground forces.
“We have essentially identified four targets and have finished mopping up one of them. I came here to see how far they have gone. They will move into other places and do the mop up with the forces on ground.
“We came here because it is one of the routes from where militants ply their trade. We could not come by water from Majidun, where we disembarked from our boats because our boats could not enter here. Ishawo is where we have access to launch our smaller boats for our men to penetrate the creeks.
“Pipeline vandals and militants have been engaging in illegal economic activities here and also disturbing the residents and so, we needed to flush them out following directives from the Chief of Defence Staff. They are Nigerians, but engaged in illegal activities.
“We have made a lot of success since last Thursday. We still can’t say the number of persons killed because we are yet to get into the areas that were properly bombarded.”
At Elepete, the Operation’s Chairman said there was a lot of bombardment at the creek because from air surveillance, the security forces observed that the place was a safe haven for militants’ operations.