Militancy: Operation Delta Safe Finally Kicks off

  •  Police re-arrest suspect for vandalism

Chiemelie Ezeobi

Following the issue of militancy bedevilling the Niger Delta region, the Operation Delta Safe (ODS), a recently inaugurated joint operation under the Defence Headquarters, yesterday finally started operation with the departure of its new commander from Lagos.

Although the new military unit, which is headed by Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, the former Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Naval Training Command (NAVTRAC), has been inaugurated, it was only until yesterday that he handed over and departed for duty at ODS.

Okojie who was in Lagos yesterday to formally hand over the reins of NAVTRAC to the new FOC, Rear Admiral Ifeola Mohammed, immediately left for the taskforce’s headquarters in Igbogene, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The ODS, a new military outfit, took over the Niger Delta operation from the recently disbanded Joint military Task Force (JTF), Operation Pulo Shield (OPS).

According to the Defence Headquarters, the inauguration of the ODS is to improve security in the region and particularly, safeguard oil facilities from militancy and vandalism.

Although Okojie declined to speak on his strategies for the ODS, he had earlier during his inauguration pledged that his leadership would plug into where the OPS stopped, to ensure seamless operations in the region.

He also vowed that in line with the mandate of the Operation Delta Safe, the personnel deployed to join the operation would jointly rout criminalities from the region.

On how the navy will tackle contemporary challenges he said: “The navy itself is a contemporary force. The last diamond jubilee we had, papers were discussed on how to improve security in the Gulf of Guinea and other maritime security challenges.

“I am very sure that the NN is in a better position now to tackle those challenges using best practices and international standards.”

Meanwhile, the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command, Wednesday re-arrested one Godwin Nwankwo, for vandalising and selling off bridge railings, crash barriers and manholes, barely 18 days after he had regained his freedom for same offence.

The 23-year-old suspect, was recently released from the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti, Lagos, after he was arrested three months ago vandalising bridge railings and barriers at Ijora Bridge.

He was caught in the act as he was bringing out some cut-to-size railings and crash barriers from manholes which were meant to reinforce Ijora Bridge from vibrating as well as protect vehicles from falling from the bridge.

In his confession, Nwankwo said he resorted to such means because he was desperately hungry and there was no alternative means for him to get money.

Confirming the arrest, the State Police’ Spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos, a Superintendent of Police, said anyone involved in the act would be brought to book.

She said, “We are intensifying our efforts to arrest anybody vandalising government’s infrastructure across the state. This stride has begun to yield positive results as some of them have been arrested and they are facing prosecution at the moment.”