Barely a month after the pipeline vandals were dislodged in Ogun and Lagos creeks by the military through aerial bombardments, they again regrouped and attempted to invade some areas in Lagos.
The vandals were said to have attempted to storm areas like Igando, Iba, FESTAC Town and Monkey village through the waterways, simultaneously, but they were repelled by the superior fire power of the police and operatives of the Joint Task Force (JTF).
The JTF, which is codenamed ‘Operation Awatse’ (an Hausa word for ‘Scatter’), comprises operatives of the Nigerian Navy, the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Air Force.
Confirming the incident, the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Fatai Owoseni, said the command was able to avert what would have been a major disaster as it repelled vandals from invading the Igando, Iba, FESTAC and Monkey village through the waterways.
According to him, the command received an information that some criminal elements were operating between Iba, FESTAC and stretching to Monkey village in Kirikiri.
He said: “The militants emerged from the waterways and threatening to wreak havoc in the area and the residents.
“In a swift reaction, the command sent its quick response team to the area to assure the community that the command was alive to its responsibility.
“A combined team of the police and soldiers attached to ‘Operation Awatse’ engaged the miscreants in a shootout. We were able to repel the militants back to the creek. However, unfortunately, we lost a policeman in the process.”
Owoseni added that the command had strengthened its hold in the area to ensure that the criminals do not come out again to wreak havoc in the area.
He said: “We were supported by soldiers from Operation MESA. We will continue to maintain our stronghold in the area and other parts of Lagos.
“We will maintain strong visibility in Lagos through out the Sallah period and beyond to ensure that they don’t make life difficult for residents.”