Michael Olugbode, Maiduguri Borno
Borno State Police Command yesterday launched ‘Operation Puff Adder’ to combat incidences of abduction and terrorism in the troubled North-East.
The state has been notorious for abduction, with the number of those abducted by Boko Haram in about a decade not officially known.
Notable among those abducted by the insurgents in the troubled state, include over 200 Chibok schoolgirls, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)’s health workers, exploratory staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and recently, a pastor, and a youth corps.
Speaking during his resumption to duty, the newly posted Commissioner of Police in Borno State, Mohammed Ndatsu, said the operation was specifically designed by the Inspector General of Police, (IGP), Mohammed Adamu, to rid the country of all violent crimes and other forms of criminality.
He added that the operation was meant to mop up various categories of light arms which have found their way into unauthorised hands in the country.
He explained that the operation was part of deliberate measures adopted by the police and aimed at curbing the excesses of criminal elements hell-bent on threatening the internal security across some states of the federation.
He noted that the IGP had on Friday, April 5, 2019 launched a robust security action plan, tagged ‘Operation Puff Adder,’ which is being carried out in collaboration with the Nigerian Armed Forces, Department of State Service (DSS), involving massive deployment of well-trained, well-equipped and well-motivated personnel.
He noted that the operation was in addition to the combined operational assets from the various security agencies which were tailored towards ridding the country of all forms of crimes and criminality.
Ndatsu called for the support and cooperation of the community leaders and stakeholders, the civil populace, particularly, traditional rulers, religious leaders, youth associations, market bodies, cultural associations and professionals, among others, in the fight against crimes, especially, kidnapping, armed robbery, cattle rustling, amongst others.
He said the operation was also based on the principle of community policing, intelligence-led policing and synergy with other security agencies, noting that “It will be characterised with convoy and mobilised patrols, stop and check operations, raiding of criminal hideouts or identified black spots”.
However, the CP said the entire officers of the command had been fully mobilized, saying “we have resolved that criminals and social miscreants will not have a hiding place in Borno state any longer.”
He, however, appealed to the public to provide the police with useful information that could expose the miscreants and their hideouts.
He also revealed that the command, with support from one of its strategic NGO partners, had provided some items to facilitate smooth take-off of the operation.
The items include 300 solar power lantern with charging point, 300 heavy duty flash lights, 300 soft marts mattresses, 300 mosquito nets, 300 food and water flasks, 300 pieces of plates, spoons, blankets, slippers, toothpastes, toothbrushes, buckets, bag packs, 50 temporary tents and 50 First Aids boxes.
On the recent abduction of a pastor of Living Faith Ministries (aka Winner’s Chapel) and a youth corps along Chibok Road, the commissioner said the police came to know of the incident late.
He said the police was informed 20 days after the incident, but said the search for them has commenced.
I hardly sleep over abduction a corps member – NYSC Boss
Meanwhile, the Borno State Coordinator, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Alhaji Rabiu Aminu, has said that he hardly slept since he received the sad report of abduction of a serving corps member by Boko Haram.
A letter sent by Living Faith Church Maiduguri informing the NYSC management indicated that Master Abraham Amutar was kidnapped on April 10 with three other church members.
The letter also revealed that they were on their way to Chibok town to delivered relief items to people when they were forcefully taken away by the terrorists.
He noted that since the incident, the entire NYSC Borno family had been having sleepless night.
Speaking to journalists yesterday in Maiduguri, Aminu said he was concerned about the safety of the missing corps member.
He said: “Last week, when I came back from Abuja, we received a letter from one of the churches here, Living Faith Church in Bulunkutu that one of our corps members, Mr. Abraham, was kidnapped alongside other church members while going to Chibok to delivered relief materials”.
He lamented that: “the corps member went on his own without our knowledge because of the concern we have, upon receiving this letter, we wrote first to DG, NYSC, and then to the three security formations in the state including; Police, DSS and the Army.
“I have been having sleepless night over these issues, because the boy was put under my custody and I cannot just sleep since the incident occurred. I am worried and so concerned about his safety. Even though he did not inform us about the journey as a parent and State Coordinator, I am so concerned.
He said the security operatives were on the case and working at getting the corps member and other kidnapped released.
He said: “We believe that the security agencies will do their best to rescue him and others. They assured us of doing their best to secure his and other’s release.
“We have called the next of kin and consoled with them, and assured them that both the NYSC headquarters and the state office are doing their best, we are still waiting for the next information”.
He revealed that because of the peculiarity of Borno security situation, the management of NYSC only posts corps members to four of the 27 local governments of the state, noting that “we postcorp members to 4 local government area including MMC, Jere, Bayo and Biu”.
Aminu further said: “We have been warning them in the camp even after the camp about the issues of security and you cannot follow them one by one, even our headquarter do send people here to tell them where to go and where not to go. We have done our best, and we will continue doing our best to protect them during their service year”.
In a related report, our sources revealed that the church had been contacted by the kidnappers demanding that payment of ransom before the abductees could be released.
Multiple sources within the church, the Police and the NYSC, who preferred anonymity said the church was told to make available about N100 million as ransom.