…will not relent efforts until peace is restored
The Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed has disclosed that the re-energising of the nation’s security is already yielding fruits with neutralising of 158 criminal elements across the country since the beginning of the year the Armed Forces.
Alhaji Mohammed started this yesterday at a briefing on how the Federal Government had been addressing security challenges in the country, adding that the troops also arrested 52 criminal elements while scores of arms, ammunition and equipment were recovered.
The records include the elimination of five Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists and killing of 118 armed bandits.
The Minister ]said the Armed Forces, the police, other security and intelligence agencies were ramping up their efforts to enhance security of lives and property across the country, the Nation reported.
The minister said troops and security agencies would not relent until peace has been restored to every troubled part of the country.
He said the security agencies were discharging their responsibilities creditably and urged Nigerians to support them.
“As you may recollect, Mr. President in his New Year address to the nation promised that the security apparatus and personnel of the Armed Forces and the police would be re-energised and reorganised with a view to enhancing their capacity to engage, push back and dismantle the operations of both internal and external extremist and criminal groups waging war against our communities in some parts of the country.
“This administration is fully aware of its responsibility to protect the lives and property of all Nigerians. Mr. President also said the government will not relent in learning and adapting to changing threats to our national security and civic wellbeing. “I can tell you today that the Armed Forces, the police and other security and intelligence agencies are ramping up their efforts to enhance security of lives and property across the country, and the results are beginning to show. “Since the security agencies take the bashing at the slightest occasional security reversals, they also deserve our commendation and support when they live up to their billing, as they are doing presently.
“Since the beginning of this year, which is barely three weeks old, the Armed Forces of Nigeria have neutralised 158 criminal elements across the country. This is in addition to scores of other terrorists and armed bandits killed during air strikes. Some 52 criminal elements were arrested, with scores of arms, ammunition and equipment recovered.
“Troops have also rescued 17 kidnapped victims across the country. In addition, a total of 684,856 barrels of stolen crude oil, 1,724,000 litres of stolen Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 500,000 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) have been recovered.”
“Furthermore, a total of 1,184 of 25kg bags of Yaraliva Nitrabor Fertiliser were impounded by the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. Please, note that in addition to the numbers of neutralised criminal elements quoted above, many others were incapacitated and their camps destroyed.”
The minister gave a breakdown of the breakthroughs the Armed Forces recorded, especially in the Northeast, Northwest and Northcentral.
He added: “In the Northwest, 118 armed bandits were killed in action and a total of 11 kidnapped victims were rescued since the beginning of the year.
“During the same period, a cumulative total of 358 livestock and five assorted rifles were recovered from the armed bandits by the gallant troops in the zone. In the same vein, a total of 11 arrests were made, and those arrested include high profile armed bandits, gun runners and bandits’ collaborators.
“In the Northeast, within the period under review, 30 terrorists, including some of their commanders, were killed by troops, apart from the scores who were killed by air raids/attacks. Several gun trucks were captured, in addition to the 13 recently captured at Marte in Borno State, while some others were destroyed by the gallant troops.
“Also, a total of 13 assorted rifles and two anti-aircraft guns were recovered from Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists. In addition, several arrests were made – including high value targets – within the period.
“Now, during the past week alone, five Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists were eliminated by troops as they attempted to overrun Abbagajiri and Dusula towns in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno State.
“The troops, from the 402 Special Forces Task Force Brigade, had, on Wednesday (January 20) encircled some terrorists’ enclaves at Abbagajiri and inflicted heavy casualties on them.
“Apart from the five that were killed, many other terrorists escaped with gunshot wounds, while the troops also captured several guns and some Improvised Explosive Device-making materials, among others.
“In the Northcentral, within the period, troops of Operations Safe Haven, Whirl Stroke and Thunder Strike have also achieved appreciable successes.
“A total of six kidnapped victims were rescued, while five armed bandits, including militia gang leaders, were killed in action. Equally, 11 armed bandits were arrested in the zone.
“Only last Saturday, the Air Component of Operation Thunder Strike neutralised several armed bandits at Chikwale Forest in the Mangoro area of Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
“The operation followed credible intelligence indicating the significant presence of armed bandits in the area, which is about 20 kilometres West of the Kaduna-Abuja highway.
“In the Southsouth, troops of Operation Delta Safe conducted anti-crude-oil theft and illegal-oil-bunkering operations, in addition to anti-illegal-maritime activities.
“In the course of their operational activities, 24 illegal refining sites, 11 wooden boats, 142 metal tanks, 17 dugout pits and 45 ovens were destroyed.
“Also, 30 suspects were arrested while 14 pumping machines, 13 speed boats and 13 outboard engines were recovered. Additionally, a total of 684,856 barrels of stolen crude oil and 1,724,000 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) as well as 500,000 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) were recovered.
“Furthermore, a total of 1,184 of 25kg bags of Yaraliva Nitrabor Fertiliser suspected to have been smuggled from the Republic of Cameroon were impounded.
“Similarly, in the Southwest, troops of Operation Awatse destroyed several illegal refining sites and arrested eight boats engaged in illegal activities.”
The minister assured that the military and security agencies will not relent until peace has been restored to every troubled part of our dear nation.
He added: “Finally, there is no denying the successes achieved by the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security and intelligence agencies within the period in focus, which is from January 1, 2021 to the present, which is just a little over three weeks.
“There is no doubt that with this renewed determination and vigour, the security agencies are set to sustain their onslaught against terrorists, bandits and criminal elements in our country, and will not relent until peace has been restored to every troubled part of our dear nation.
“Mr. President has continued to provide the security agencies with the wherewithal to successfully prosecute their various operations.
“The security agencies have been discharging their responsibilities creditably. It is now up to us, as citizens, to give our undiluted support to the security agencies, who daily sacrifice to keep us safe.”
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