The Presidency yesterday listed the various measures and initiatives taken by the Federal Government to curtail the spate of crime and criminality across the country.
It assured that “evildoers will be beaten, and badly, too.’’
The Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Femi Adesina, who chronicled the measures in a statement in Abuja, said the Buhari administration was committed to finding drastic solutions to security challenges.
According to him, the government has the constitutional duty and responsibility to safeguard lives and properties.
Adesina added: “These are no doubt times of great security challenges for our country, and the President Buhari-led government is not leaving any stone unturned to restore sanity and calm.’’
“The Buhari administration remains committed to this, and despite recent spikes in the spate of crime and criminality, the evildoers will be beaten, and badly, too.
“The ravening clouds can never be victorious. Soon, they shall no longer possess the sky.’’
Adesina, therefore, listed, for the record, some of the security initiatives taken between January and now to ensure the safety and security of Nigerians.
“Operation Puff Adder (Police), Operation HARBIN KUNAMA3 (Nigerian Army) and Exercise Egwu Eke 3(Nigerian Army) have all been launched in 2019, to complement the existing Operations Sharan Daji (launched in 2016 by the Nigerian Army) and Diran Mikiya (launched 2018 by the Nigerian Air Force). All of these operations are focused on tackling banditry and criminality in the North West of Nigeria.
“Operation HARBIN KUNAMA 3 was launched on 1 April 2019 to ensure the complete defeat of the bandits fleeing military operations in Zamfara and escaping into Kaduna, Katsina, Kano, Niger and Sokoto states.
“Hundreds of kidnappers and bandits have been arrested or killed since January, several camps/hideouts destroyed; and hundreds of hostages rescued. In a two-week operation in February (lasting from Feb 4 to Feb 14), 80 hostages were freed by the Nigerian Army, with 37 bandits killed.
“Aerial bombardments of bandits’ camps have been intensified in recent months. A new Air Force Base – the 271 Nigerian Air Force Detachment (271 NAF Det) – was commissioned at Birinin Gwari in Kaduna State in May 2019, to complement the 207 Quick Response Group (QRG) established in Gusau, Zamfara State, in 2017.
“Also, the Nigerian police between January 2019 and the 1st week of May, 2019, has arrested a total of 270 suspected kidnappers, 275 suspected armed robbers, while 105 assorted weapons plus a large cache of ammunition have been recovered within the states of the North West and North Central Nigeria.”
The other initiatives and achievement so far recorded include:
“On April 5, the police launched ‘Operation Puff Adder’, a multi-agency strategy, in collaboration with the Nigerian Armed Forces and the Department of State Services (DSS), tailored towards ridding the Kaduna – Abuja Expressway, Kogi, Katsina, Niger and Zamfara states of all forms of crimes and criminality- kidnapping, armed robbery, cattle rustling, amongst others.
“On April 9, the police operatives attached to ‘Operation Puff Adder’ arrested three notorious criminals involved in the kidnap of Channels Television’s employee, Mr. Friday Okeregbe-Hanniel Patrick, Abdulwahab Isah and Salisu Mohammed.
“On April 10, officers of the ‘Operation Puff Adder’ killed nine notorious criminals on the Abuja-Kaduna Expressway, six Ak47 Rifles, a Pump Action Gun, 1,206 Rounds of Ak47 Ammunition, 7 Magazines, 28 Cartridges and 158 Expended Shells were recovered from the criminals.
On April 16, operatives attached to ‘Operation Puff Adder’ arrested one Mallam Salisu Abubakar, 48-year-old, a native of Dutsinma Local Government Area, Katsina State. The Mallam, is a self-confessed spiritual father of kidnappers terrorising Abuja-Kaduna expressway and parts of other Northwest/Northcentral states.
“Following the arrest of the kidnappers’ ‘spiritual father’, Police detectives attached to ‘Operation Puff Adder’, arrested 18 notorious kidnappers and armed robbers at different times and places across the country. A total of twenty- two (22) AK 47 rifles, five (5) locally fabricated pistols and a cache of live ammunition were recovered from the bandits.
On May 5, operatives from ‘Operation Puff Adder’ rescued unhurt 27 kidnap victims including 5 Chinese nationals. The Chinese citizens, who were earlier kidnapped on 15th April, 2019 in Bobi, Niger State, were safely and successfully rescued from a forest in Birnin Gwari, Kaduna State, following painstaking investigative efforts, including both air and ground surveillance.
“Two of the kidnappers died from injuries sustained during exchange of gun fire with the Police in the course of the rescue mission. Twenty-two other kidnap victims were rescued in Zamfara State and other parts of the country.”
On the party of the Nigerian army, Adesina satted that the flag off of the ‘Exercise EGWU EKE III’ in 8 Division Nigerian Army’s area of responsibility at 1 Battalion, Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State since January 8th 2019 has also recorded hug success.
He went on: “On March 15, troops of 72 Special Forces Makurdi, deployed at Yelwata, in Guma Local Government Area, which is a border town between Benue and Nasarawa states, while on patrol along Yelwata-Kadarko road engaged armed robbers in a gun battle, which resulted in the elimination of one of the armed robbers, while others took to their heels. The suspects were dressed in military desert camouflage and robbing motorists along the road.
“Troops conducting ‘Operation Sharan Daji’ in Zamfara State killed 23 bandits and arrested 18 suspected informants, cattle rustlers, kidnappers and logistics suppliers to armed criminals in the state.
“Another initiative, the Operation ‘HABIN KUNAMA III’, based on credible intelligence about bandits’ movements in Kirsa and Sunke in Anka Local Government Area, Zamfara State, has continued with the clearance operation into the hinterland to clear the brigands, arresting 18 informants and recovering arms and motorcycles.
“On 22 April, troops of 72 Special Forces Battalion Makurdi, deployed for internal security operation in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area, Benue State, averted a terrible clash between two Tiv clans —Shitile and Ikyora in the early hours of that day. They exterminated five mercenaries, recovered arms and ammunition.
“On May 8, a patrol team of 1 Division of the Nigerian Army raided a bandits’ den at Gonan Bature East of Rijana and Kasarami farm house in Chikun Local Area, Kaduna State. The abandoned Kasarami farm house was reportedly forcefully occupied by criminals and had been used as a shelter and a place where victims of kidnapping were kept.
“On May 8, troops on Exercise HARBIN KUNAMA III, arrested a notorious logistics supplier for bandits crouching between Jibia-Batsari axis – one Marwana Abubakar was arrested at Kwashabawa village in Jibia Local Government Area, Katsina State.
“On May 8, troops of 311 Artillery Regiment successfully conducted a raid on a suspected facility in Kontagora, Niger State. During the raid, some weapons were discovered and recovered.”
On the part of the Air Force, Adesina stated that on January 19, the Nigerian Air Force deployed a fighter aircraft, along with support equipment, and a detachment of Special Forces personnel to Sokoto to further boost anti-banditry operations in Northwest Nigeria under Operation DIRAN MIKIYA.
“The deployment is aimed at adding value to the efforts to deal with the spate of insecurity in some parts of Sokoto State and the border areas between Zamfara and Sokoto states.
On February 7, the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation DIRAN MIKIYA intensified the bombardment of armed bandits’ hideouts in Zamfara State and environs, after several camps being used by the bandits to launch attacks against innocent civilians were identified.
“On 21 February, the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) provided a mobile Jet A-1 fueling facility to enable the refueling of NAF Helicopters that would operate out of the 23 Quick Response Wing (23 QRW) Nguroje. This will further enhance security on the Mambilla Plateau.
“On March 12, in continuation of efforts to enhance security in Kaduna State and its environs, the NAF, working with other security agencies, intensified aerial surveillance over identified hotspots and flashpoints in the state while sustaining its air patrol along the Abuja-Kaduna Highway. Some of the areas covered in the surveillance missions include Gonin Gora, Kajuru, Kujama, Kasuwar Maganin and surrounding settlements.
On March 31, a NAF Special Forces Team, operating in Zamfara State, successfully repelled attacks by armed bandits who attempted to invade Hayin Mahe and Hayin Kanawa Villages in Gusau Local Government Area.
“On April 18, the Air Task Force (ATF) for Operation DIRAN MIKIYA renewed air offensive against armed bandits in Zamfara State and its environs. The air strikes are aimed at flushing out the bandits from their hideouts in Sububu, Rugu and Kagara Forests, amongst others, whilst ensuring the protection of the lives and properties of citizens in the Northwest.
“On April 9, Operation DIRAN MIKIYA neutralised dozens of armed bandits in Sector 2 Area of Operation in Zamfara State and also supported surface forces to move into the attacked areas to mop-up the fleeing survivors and recover their weapons. Some of the bandits fled across the border into Niger Republic.
On April 13, the ATF for Operation DIRAN MIKIYA destroyed some logistics stores belonging to bandits at a location within Kagara Forest, Zamfara State. Some of the armed bandits who had fled their camps as a result of NAF’s earlier air strikes had relocated some logistics items, including fuel, motorcycles and local arms-making equipment, to another location within Kagara Forest.
“On April 16, in response to reports that high profile armed bandits were gathering around Rafi and Doka villages of Mada District in Gusau Local Government Area (LGA) of Zamfara State, which is under the Area of Responsibility (AOR) of the 207 Quick Response Group (207 QRG), a NAF Special Forces team was dispatched to the area to secure the 2 settlements.
On April 22, the ATF neutralised about 10 armed bandits at Sububu Forest area in Zamfara State. This was achieved while the ATF was responding to a request for close air support by ground troops of Sector 7 Area of Responsibility of Operation SHARAN DAJI, who had come into contact with armed bandits in Shinkafi Local Government Area.
On May 4, NAF commissioned the 271 Nigerian (271 NAF Det) at Birinin Gwari in Kaduna State. The detachment was established to serve as support Base and a blocking force for troops in Operations DIRAN MIKIYA and SHARAN DAJI.