JTF arrests 1,846 criminals, recovers 1,389 weapons – Defence spokesman
The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. John Agim
Yenagoa, May 5, 2018 (AltAfrika)-The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. John Agim, has said that the joint military task force in the Niger Delta, codenamed, Operation Delta Safe, has arrested 1,846 criminals and recovered 1,389 different types of arms in the region.
Agim, who made this known during a news conference on the operational activities of the outfit at the headquarters of the OPDS, Igbogene, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said the feat was achieved from January 2017 till date.
At the news conference were Brig.-Gen. Kevin Aligbe, the deputy Commander, OPDS and Commander, 16 Brigade Nigerian Army; and all component commanders of the security outfit.
Agim also said as part of the troops’ efforts to deny criminals of any freedom of action, involving the destruction of their safe havens and the items used in perpetrating illegalities, OPDS operatives had destroyed 1,437 illegal refineries.
He said that the troops also destroyed 795 wooden cargo boats, 3,872 metal surface tanks, 1,019 plastic tanks, 13,129 drums and 13,343 jerry cans.
He added that the troops’ introduction of the use of ‘swamp buggy’ in the JTF’s anti-illegal refining operations had significantly degraded the capacity of illegal refinery operators to revamp destroyed illegal refineries.
The defence spokesman said, “The recovery and mopping of arms and ammunition are considered essential to the restoration of law and order in the Niger Delta. From January 1, 2017 till date, the force has recovered 1,389 different types of arms and 20,352 items of munitions from militants and other hostile elements.
“The perpetrators of criminals within the joint operation area are also being tracked and apprehended for interrogation and possible prosecution. Since the establishment of OPDS, a total of 1,846 persons involved in diverse acts of criminalities have been arrested in JOA.
“A large percentage of these suspects have been transferred to prosecuting agencies accordingly. The force has also made efforts to target the arrest of high profile elements and criminal kingpins, thus reducing the freedom of action they hitherto exploited.”
He further said that oil production had risen to an average of 2.5 million barrels per day, attributing the rise in oil output to the strategic approach of the JTF.
He noted that prior to the establishment of the outfit on June 24, 2016, oil production had dropped to 900,000 barrels daily.
He said that the joint task force had pursued its mandate in line with the strategic directive of Chief of Defence Staff and made modest achievements in restoring peace to the hitherto restive region.