Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday launched a new security outfit; code-named Operation Sting, in a major move to improve the security of lives and property across the state.
Performing the inauguration of the outfit in Port Harcourt, Wike said ‘Operation Sting’ would be fully funded by the Rivers State Government with the aim of tackling criminal elements and reducing crime and criminality in all parts of the state.
His words: “Operation Sting is therefore, our own specialised and dedicated security initiative anchored on an integrated and complementary approach, fully funded by the Rivers State Government to effectively tackle both the sources and drivers of insecurity in their diverse criminal manifestations and operations and nip them in their buds or rout and root them out of existence.
“Under Operation Sting we have taken concrete steps to strengthen the logistics and operational capability of the civil and armed security forces.”
He said to ensure that the new security outfit responds effectively across the state, his administration provided the right logistics and equipment.
He listed some of the equipment to include: “76 patrol/operational vehicles fitted with communication gadgets; eight armoured fitted gunboats, to tighten coastal security and protect our waterways from the activities of criminals; two armoured personnel carriers for police swift responses actions; 450 hand-held mobile radios to enhance communication among the security operatives and overcome the current wide gaps in intelligence gathering”.
The governor said the State Government had established operational bases in all the 23 local government areas to strengthen the command and control structures of the initiative and ensure effective coordination and synergy between the state headquarters, the local government areas and the communities to achieve the common objectives of providing comprehensive security cover for the our state.
He said, “To achieve quick, timely and effective response we have established 30 toll free emergency call centres with capacity to support and transmit 30 concurrent calls from the public during distress situations and or during ongoing criminal activities in or around our neighbourhoods”.
Wike said the operationalisation of Operation Sting across the State was also expected to increase citizens’ awareness and make the public to be more alive to the dangers of insecurity and their responsibility to be part of the present crusade to stamp the menace from the State.
While appreciating the officers and men who will participate in the new security architecture, the governor said the State Government had set up a fund to cater for their families, should they suffer any mishap in the course of service.
He acknowledged that the state had faced major security challenges in the area of kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery and community conflicts. He said that the state was not yet as peaceful as the administration desires, hence the renewed effort to stamp criminality.
He said: “It is this spirit that has led us to come to terms with the fact that insecurity, irrespective of the level of manifestation, whether big or small, violent or otherwise, is an insidious threat to our individual and collective development and prosperity.
“This being so, it is has become rather compelling for us to bring all elements of State power: Federal, State and Local, to bear against every security threat to our State, our persons and our property, including those posed by pastoral conflicts and kidnappers, in order to create and sustain the right social environment to drive our development.”
Wike specifically assured riverine communities that his administration would ensure their safety, stating that Operation Sting had been mandated to work on security in the waterways.
In his remarks, Garrison Commander of 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Adeola Kalejaiye, said the armed forces would leave no stone unturned in ensuring the security of lives and property in the state.
He said that Operation Sting would act on all credible information from members of the public to ensure that the any form of insecurity is handled.
Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, said that the objective of Operation Sting is to get rid of criminals and reduce crime to the barest minimum.
The Commissioner of Police assured Rivers people that the logistics provided by Wike would be used to fight insecurity in the state. He said in the next one month, the improvement of security would be noticed.
Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Dr. Tammy Danagogo, said Operation Sting was an initiative of the governor to promote security in the state, adding that it was another strategy by the Rivers State Governor to enhance the security of Rivers people.
Also speaking, Chairman of Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers and Amayanabo of Opobo, King Douglas Dandeson Jaja, expressed happiness that Wike has always given priority to the security of lives and property.