We’ve arrested 266, recovered 230 assorted arms, others in 2 months ― JTF
OPERATIVES of the newly-activated Operation 777 under the Joint Task Force (JTF), codenamed Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), have arrested 266 suspects for various crimes in the Niger Delta within two months.
No fewer than 230 various arms, 240 assorted ammunition, 11 barges, 101 outboard engines, 78 other boats, 13 tankers, 51 other vehicles, 135 pumping machines and 34 generating sets were also recovered within the period.
A total of 436 illegal refineries, 609 Cotonou boats, 1, 507 surface tanks and 1, 538 illegally-refined oil drums were also destroyed within the six months in view.
Operation 777 was inaugurated on October 8 by Defence Headquarters and activated on October 10, 2018, by OPDS with the mandate to curb crude oil theft, illegal refineries, illegal bunkering, communal clashes, kidnapping, piracy and eliminate militancy in the region.
Its operations cover land, maritime and air in Bayelsa, Delta, Rivers, Imo as well as southern parts of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Ondo.
The operation, which is intelligence-driven, engages reconnaissance with the aide of air assets to identify militant camps, kidnappers’ dens, including perpetrators of criminality in the region.
Briefing journalists at the headquarters of OPDS, Igbogene, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital on Thursday, Acting Director, Defence Information on Conduct of Operation 777, Brigadier General John Agim, said Operation 777 has been a huge success.
He rolled out the various achievements of the special operation including the arrest of a wanted notorious militant and member of “Kill & Bury” gang, Gift Apollo, also known as “Thousand” who allegedly supervised the killing of soldiers deployed to Abua/Oduma in August 2018.
Brigadier General Agim, who was flanked by OPDS boss, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman and Deputy Defence Director, Navy Capt. Mohammed Wabi, among others, disclosed that 1,706 bags of smuggled foreign rice were also intercepted in Akwa Ibom in November by OPDS troops and have been handed over to the Nigerian Immigration Service in the State.
Speaking earlier, Commander, OPDS, Rear Admiral Suleiman, averred that since the establishment of OPDS in 2016, oil and gas production has increased considerably.
He said Operation 777 would increase the tempo of security surveillance of oil and gas facilities as well as reinvigorate its platforms to engender a peaceful environment ahead of the 2019 elections.
Brigadier General Agim and Rear Admiral Suleiman, while fielding questions from journalists drafted from the Niger Delta, urged the public to always brief OPDS of any form of criminality in their domain for prompt actions.