Posted by Mike Odiegwu | 7 December 2018 | 934 times
The military yesterday said it arrested 266 suspected criminals and recovered 230 arms in Operation 777 in Niger Delta.
It absolved Commander of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe (ODS), Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, of allegations of crude oil theft.
Acting Director of Defence Information Brig.-Gen. John Agim, who spoke at JTF Headquarters in Igbogene, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said after investigation, the JTF commander was found to be innocent.
Gen. Agim, who was with Suleiman, said the allegations were evidence of criminals fighting back to discourage the war against crude oil theft.
He said: “Let me report that sometime in August, the Defence Headquarters received a petition against the Force Commander, OPDS, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, of some wrong doing. The Chief of Defense Staff, Gen. A.G Olonisakin, constituted a committee to investigate the allegations. I am proud to announce that the panel’s findings shows that the allegations are false. In fact, it was criminality fighting back.
“The findings also show that the Standing Operation Procedure established by the Commander and his team has been responsible for the successes recorded by OPDS and now Operation 777”.
The military chief added that Operation 777 led to the recovery of 230 different types of arms, 240 assorted ammunitions, 11 barges, 101 outboard engines and 78 other boats.
Other items included 13 tanker trucks, 51 other vehicles, 135 pumping machines and 34 generating sets.
According to him, one of the most wanted militants and a member of “Kill and Bury” gang, Gift Apollo, was arrested at Okarki in Bayelsa State. He said the group was responsible for the death of soldiers deployed in Abua/Oduma in August.
Gen. Agim noted that the operation rescued seven Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) maintenance workers kidnapped while carrying out an assessment of a ruptured well head in Azuzuama, Bayelsa.
He said: “Since the launch of Operation 777, the Task Force has destroyed 436 illegal refineries. Also destroyed were 609 Cotonou boats; 1,507 surface tanks and 1,538 drums used for illegal bunkering. Furthermore, Operation Delta Safe arrested 266 persons for various crimes, and they have been handed over to the appropriate government agencies for prosecution.”
Over 40 disputes were resolved amicably and the troops recorded minimal cases of human rights abuses occasioned by confrontation with troops by aggrieved communities, Gen. Agim added.
•Sourced from The Nation report
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