By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South and Francis Efe
SUSPECTED Fulani kidnappers whose operational hideouts are located in bushes in Oshimili North Local Government Area and other parts of Delta North Senatorial district, Delta State, have been thrown into panic, following the threat by government to destroy their camps.
The executive order by Oshimili North local government to all camp owners in bushes in the area to vacate in seven days came barely 24 hours after the state government announced on Tuesday that it would set up a security outfit, “Operation Delta Hawk” to tackle herdsmen and other criminals in the state. The inauguration took place yesterday.
Saturday Vanguard learned yesterday that some of the criminal- herdsmen, who have been hibernating in makeshift camps in the forest were relocating already to avoid being caught in a planned raid by security agencies.
A source hinted: “But one problem they have now is how to carry their weapons to safe hideouts without detection because there is a security alert over movement of arms.”
The son of a Fulani leader in the state was said to be among the kidnap kingpins and he had reported his activities to senior government officials.
It was learnt that the kidnappers, who were planning to bring in more arms and ammunition for their operations were jolted by government plan to set up Operation Delta Hawk because they had devised a strategy to always outplay the police.
But our source hinted that they could easily bury their arms in the bush and retreat to find out what government really plans to do
Meanwhile, the Ijaw People’s Development Initiative, IPDI, a rights group has called on the Delta State Government to strategically and extensively conscript ex-militants, Egbesu Boys and Vigilante members into the proposed state security outfit, “Operation Delta Hawk.”
National President of the group, Mr Austin Ozobo, in a statement, yesterday, warned that the police should not be allowed to interfere with the outfit.
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“It is our call that ex-militants, Egbesu Boys and vigilante group members be massively recruited into the proposed state security outfit. This is very important if the security outfit is not a medium to steal government fund. People with mystic powers such as ex-militants and Egbesu Boys should be prioritised for effective performance as the herders are known for using mystical powers.
“ The proposed security outfit should be given independent powers to work without taking orders or reporting to the police on its activities. The essence of the new security network is because the current police have failed. The police will mislead the new security outfit if it is meant to take authority from the police,” he said.
Ozobo stated: “The proposed security network should be equipped in such a way that it can subdue herders, who now carry AK- rifles with mystical powers. The recruitment should be done in community basis and that is the only way all communities will be secured against these marauding herders. “
“We want to further state that the proposed security network will not produce the desired result if the right people are not appointed or recruited to man it. The slots should be distributed among all local government areas in the state, adding politics to it will weaken and reduce performance in the proposed security network in the state.
Also, a security expert and chairman, Focus Guards Security in Warri, Deacon Shola Mese, weekend, lambasted the federal government
for handling the issue of security in the country with levity , thereby jeopardizing the life of the people.”
He said, “For me, I think that the government of the day is handling the issue of security as if it is politics, thereby putting people’s lives in danger.
“We have trained intelligent gathering department, which is the DSS. What is their job and what are they doing. They cannot tell us that they do not know what is going on. They should come out and tell us what is going on.
“Traditional rulers and community leaders should be held responsible for some security breach in their areas because they cannot tell us that they are not aware of who is living in their community.
“Those Northerners who have been caught sneaking into Delta, what have the security agents gathered about them. They should come out and tell us what is happening,” he asserted.