By Kingsley Omonobi – Abuja
The Chief of Defence Staff, General Lucky Irabor has advised Politicians seeking for elective offices and those jostling for appointive positions in the 2023 general elections to ensure they do so within the ambit of the provisions of the law, warning, “We (Security Agencies) will not in any way, stand aside and see anyone perpetrating violence, all because they are looking for political office and allow it”.
Addressing the media on Thursday, the CDS said, “We will not allow criminals amongst those or if you like thugs that might make themselves available for anyone to use, to perpetrate violence. We will not allow it. And we’re working very closely with the police. We are ready to give them all the support that is necessary, because going forward with this, and that’s what we’re looking forward to the media as an ally to work as partners to ensure peaceful elections”.
Continuing he said, “Now we’re going to a season that everyone is desiring and to have a peaceful election, peaceful campaigns. We will ensure that we have a peaceful period, with the incoming election, so that every one of us will have a country we will be proud of. We must be men or women that conduct ourselves peacefully. And I need your spreadsheet to drive this message to everyone.
Speaking on operational matters, the CDS disclosed that issues of moles/saboteurs in the military whose activities have impacted negatively on troops and equipment, are being tacked with all the seriousness it deserves with several military court martials going on both in the theatres of operation and even in Military locations in Abuja to punish saboteurs.
His words, “There will always be bad eggs. And I feel that so bad. I’ve also been one of those most disturbed about this the few times we have discovered this evil and put the culprits to trial. They were not reported to us. We discovered them. We discovered that if we didn’t have measures to discover like having internet platforms, we would not have met these important objective
“This is why many of you when you talk about human rights, you get it misplaced, especially when you are dealing with people that are armed forces. There are internal mechanisms. If you’re in the armed forces, you operate within the ambit of the service rules. Your understanding of what human rights is, if we follow it, then of course, there will be no armed force, a discipline armed forces.
“For instance, if I if I ask you (media men) to remain here, from now till evening, you will you will revolt. But if I tell these gentlemen (military personnel) to remain here from 9.30am till tomorrow morning, they will have no reason to stand up because they trust that for me to give that instruction, there’s a basis for it. So it’s on that basis that I like to inform you that we have internal mechanism to repress issues that have to do with moles and we’re dealing with them.
Commenting on the challenges troops were having with improvised explosive devices planted by terrorist elements and which hinders troops movements in battle areas, the CDS said, “We have been exposed to several demonstrations on equipment available to neutralize and deactivate IEDS. There is no equipment that is 100 per cent complete for detecting improvised explosive devices in the market, that has been assessed to be effective that we do not have now. It is one thing to claim that an equipment can do something.
“It’s a different thing for you to now confirm whether other people can actually do it. So what I believe is that in general, we equipment IED detectors that we’re using. But if it’s not as effective as you wish, we work towards having it. It would be wrong information to say that most modern equipment that are available they are not provided for them.
“That’s not correct. I was also a victim of it but I didn’t I went of course. What was provided is what we’re able to get in the market which was accessed to be the best by the presenter. But of course, when we began using it in operation, it became a problem in itself why? What it does is that it will destroy the IED but it does not end there. It will also dig a massive crater that now makes it almost impossible for troops to move across and pursue the terrorists.
“To achieve our operational objective, of course is first to deactivate improvised explosive devices, and to go to attack the objective. But if the men who are to go to attack the enemy cannot move by virtue of the obstacle that has been created, then of course we have an issue. As I speak with you that equipment, we’re thinking on what to do with it. We have also made some ingenious creations to be able to see how we can beat that.
Meanwhile, the Director of Defence Media Operations, Major General Bernard Onyeuko disclosed also on Thursday that the Joint Task Force of Operation Delta Safe in efforts at eliminating illegal oil activities through Subsidiary Operation Octopus Grip, in the last 7 weeks of it operations in April discovered and destroyed 337 illegal oil refineries, 1,052 metal storage tanks, 515 ovens, 68 wooden boats. It also confiscated 59 vehicles, 16 outboard engines, 11 rifles and arrested 141 criminals.
Onyeuko said, “Operation Octopus Grip conducted operations in creeks, towns and communities including Jesse in Ethiope Local Government Area, Otagbo Creek, Escravos River and Benett Island in Delta State. Also, Brass creek, Beneside and Ndoro Waterways Ekeremor all in Bayelsa State. In addition, troop conducted operations at Opumaki, Cawthrone Channel all in Bonny Local Government Area of River States.
“Within the last week 9 – 14 June 2022, a total of 26 illegal refining sites, 35 wooden boats, 74 storage tanks, 79 ovens, 28 dug out pits, 3 speed boats, 2 outboard engines, 20 pumping machines, 2 rifles, Two Million Two Hundred and Sixty-Four Thousand (2,264,000) liters of stolen crude oil, One Million One Hundred and Forty-Two Thousand (1,142,000) liters of AGO and 10 oil thieves were arrested by own troops. Accordingly, all the arrested criminals and recovered items have been handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.
In the war against terrorism, he said, “Cumulatively a total of 57,004 of Boko Haram Terrorists and their families have surrendered to troops of Operation Hadin Kai comprising of 12,547 males, 17,027 females and 27,430 children. All surrendered and items recovered have been handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.
“On 6 June 2022 troops rescued 5 abducted victims who were kidnapped by terrorists. Earlier in the day, terrorists had set ablaze 2 PMS tankers and 2 other vehicles. This was achieved in conjunction with Air Component of who engaged the terrorists with helicopter gunship some of the criminals were neutralized and the 3 gun trucks abandoned by the terrorists were recovered.
“On 12 June 2022 troops had an-encounter with Boko Haram terrorists as they cleared their enclave in Gazuwa in Bama Local Government Area. The camp which is called Markas or Headquarters harboured large of the terrorists and their families. After a fierce battle about 47 terrorists were neutralized including their top commanders. Also, on 14 June 2022, troops of 26 Task Force Brigade on clearance operation at Ngoshe Borno State intercepted one of the abducted Chibok girls by name Miss Mary Dauda, 27 years old with her child. She is suspected to have escaped from Gara in Gwoza Local Government Area of Borno State. Mary Dauda is on serial 46 on the Chibok girls list of 2014. The rescued mother and child are in own custody for medical checkup and rehabilitation.
“Troops fighting against banditry and kidnappers, based on actionable intelligence a high profile Islamic State of West Africa Province Commander, one Abba Yunus (aka Mallam Abba) and his accomplice was arrested at Samegu community were arrested in Kumbosto Local Government Area of Kano State. Items recovered during the operation include 5 AK 47 rifles, 1 AK 74 rifle, 2 PKM squad machine gun, 9 85mm shoulder fired RPG bomb, 16 M67 fragmentation grenades, 10 50mm mortar rounds, 200 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 18 boxes of ammunition, 1 RPG model 7 tubes, 1 RPG 7 and 7 AK 47 magazines. This high profile arrest has nipped in the bud their planned mayhem in the area which would have claimed lots of lives.
“In another operation on 13 June 2022 troops received intelligence on movement of terrorists with intent to cross road Dogon Awo and Sokoto in Bakura Local Government Area of Zamfara State, troops engaged the bandits and neutralized scores of the bandits while others escaped with gunshot wounds, after the engagement, troops recovered 718 cattle, 10 camels, and 5 motorcycles.
“Also, on 14 June 2022, troops responded to distress call on movement of bandits on motorcycles at Yar’kuka village heading towards Tadurga village in Danko Wasagu Local Government Area of Kebbi State. Troops in pursuit engaged the criminals at Kwanar Dutse due to fire power of own troops several of the terrorists were neutralized. During the attack 6 motorcycles and 7 AK 47 rifles were recovered.
“Cumulatively, within the period under review, a total of 12 AK 47 rifles, 1 AK 74 rifle, 2 PKM squad machine gun, 9 rounds of 85mm shoulder fired live RPG, 16 M67 fragmentation grenades, 10 50mm mortar rounds, 200 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition, 18 boxes of ammunition, 1 RPG model 7 tubes, 1 RPG 7 and 7 AK 47 magazines. In addition, the troops recovered 5 motorcycles, 718 sheep, 10 camels and neutralized scores of bandits. Accordingly, all arrest and recovered items have been handed over to the appropriate authorities for further action.
“In another development, the Commander Joint Task Force Operation Hadarin Daji on 6 June 2022 handed over 706 assorted arms and ammunitions captured from the terrorists and other criminal elements within the theatre of Operation comprising of katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto and Kebbi State to the Zonal Coordinator North West Zone National Centre for Control of Small Arms and Light Weapons at 26 Battalion parade ground, Giginya Barracks Sokoto State.
“In his remarks, the Commander Operation Hadarin Daji noted that the operational success recorded from 2018 – 10 May 2022 led to the recovery of large quantities assorted Small Arms and Light Weapons from criminal elements. The recovered weapons comprise of 203 AK 47 rifles, 44 automated fabricated rifles, 7 G3 rifles, 1 GPMG, 3 submachine guns, 1 light machine gun, 4 FN rifles, 410 Dane guns, 71 locally fabricated pistols, 1 Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) empty canister and 1 pump action gun.
“the people Southern of Kaduna State, Troops of Operation Safe Haven as part of non-kinetic operations in Southern Kaduna on 7 June 2022 organized football peace competition code name Major General IS Ali Ramadan and Easter football peace competition and donated tricycles to people living with disabilities at the Township Stadium Kafanchan, Jama’a Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
Speaking at the ceremony, the representative of the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, the Commissioner and Administrator Kafanchan Municipal Authority commended the Operation Safe Haven for continuously engaging the youth positively in activities that promotes friendship and harmonious coexistence stating that peace is a necessity that all must strive achieve.
On his part the Commander Operation Safe Haven stated that the football competition was organized to promote peaceful living and healthy competition among the youth. He enjoined the participants to use the opportunity to make friends as well support the security agencies in their respective communities to achieve lasting peace.
The Commander further congratulated the participants for successful competition and urged them to sustain the team spirit and warned them against their involvement in drugs and criminal activities. The events were attended by officials of Kaduna State executive, local government officials, Traditional and Community leader, Clergy as well as head of security agencies in the area.
“Troops in Operation Whirl Punch theatre of operation while sustaining offensive attacks on bandits and other criminal elements raided and cleared criminal activities at Rigasa, Faka, Kurmin Dade, Galbi, Kawuri, Kusasu, Kuduru, Keterma, Dan Guru, Sarkin Pawa, Godani station at Gwagwada in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State.
“On 2 June 2022, based on credible intelligence report on terrorist’s activities, and the sighting of major terrorist’s enclaves at Golibi and Kawuri, the Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) also uncovered movement of armed terrorists on motorcycles from gwagwada in Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. Consequently, the air component in a coordinated strike engaged the terrorists and neutralized key leaders of the terrorists and destroyed their warehouse.
“In a similarly operation, on 5 June 2022 following report on terrorist’s attack at Dogon Noma in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna State, on arrival, it was discovered that the village was on fire, however, no terrorist was seen. Further exploit of the general area revealed terrorists on convoy of 30 motorcycles carrying 3 persons each and fleeing to nearby clusters of trees. Consequently, the terrorists were engaged by Nigerian Air Force platform with scores of the terrorists neutralized and the motorcycles engulfed in flames after the strike.”