By Chiemelie Ezeobi
Following the recent resurgence of militants to the creeks in Lagos and Ogun States, the military, weekend said they are set to take them on, especially as they have taken to kidnapping as a means of sustenance.
The Operation Awatse Task Force had in the past three months invaded the creeks of Arepo, Ishawo, Awawa and several others and dislodged the pipeline vandals.
Having their means of livelihood cut off, the dislodged group had bided their time for the heat to die down before they resurged to the same creeks, but this time, took to kidnapping.
On a visit to the creeks over the weekend, the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai, said although they are aware that the militants have returned, they are set to take them on.
He said, “We are aware that the militants are returning and we are ready to take them on. Very soon, petroleum products would be pumped from Atlas Cove to Mosimi.
“That would pose a new challenge for us because when we embarked on this operation at that time, petroleum products were not being pumped and some of them who were out of business started kidnapping.
“We are going to come in massively to ensure these miscreants are kept at bay. We are aware some of the gas stations patronise these vandals and we have recommended to the government that the appropriate agency should deal those filling stations.”
Speaking on the jerrycans recovered from the creeks, which he inspected , Bobai said as at last week Friday, 53,000 kegs of 50 litres were recovered from creeks around Ishawo.
He said it was made possible by the grace of the Lagos State Government, through the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) because they provided swam buggies to clear the creeks to enable LASEMA pull out these jerrycans.
He said, “As you saw when we got here, there were about three or four waves of jerrycans coming in under the protection if army, navy and other security forces.
“There are a lot of jerrycans all over the place. Aside the jerrycans, we arrested so many of the miscreants and handed them over to the DSS.
“You can see the line up of jerrycans here. If you begin to talk about 53,000 kegs of 50 litres by 50 by 145 by 20 years they have been thriving in the business, that’s a lot of money.
“So, we have done our own and would continue to do our best. What we have recommended is that the appropriate agency should go after this filling stations.”