– Ex-militants back Buhari on amnesty programme
• Two years after, displaced Bayelsa indigenes return home
The Army has said that the Operation Crocodile Smile II has destroyed militant camps, illegal artisanal refineries and also arrested several kidnappers and sea pirates.
Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Col. Aminu Iliyasu, said the tempo of operational activities in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta states had been stepped up to stem criminal activities of armed robbers, cultists, illegal oil bunkerers and crude oil thieves and other hoodlums.
Iliyasu stated that illegal refineries and militant camps at Akpara, Ayoisi and Idama had been destroyed in the Niger Delta since the Operation Crocodile Smile II started.
He said in the last two weeks, the 2 Brigade had arrested several cultists who had been terrorising different communities in Akwa Ibom State.
Also, he said the troops raided the residence of a suspected arms supplier who was arrested with items such as live cartridges, locally-made guns, gun-powder, damaged single and gun-making accessories.
Besides, he said one man suspected to be the financier of wanted criminals was also arrested at Ikot Ibekwe community and was volunteering information about gangs of kidnappers and cultists linked to him.
Meanwhile, former militants in the Niger Delta have thrown their weight behind President Muhammadu Buhari and also declared total support for his administration and the manner he is handling the amnesty office.
They spoke yesterday after they paid a courtesy visit to the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig. Paul Boroh, at the Amnesty Office in Abuja.In a statement signed by the Acting Chairman of the Bayelsa State chapter, Bull Ifiemi and its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Godgift Ayabowe, the former militants under the auspices of the Leadership Peace and Cultural Development Initiative (LPCDI) expressed their confidence on Buhari’s administration. They also thanked him for trusting Boroh with the affairs of the amnesty office.
The group and 31 other leaders of the first phase of the presidential amnesty programme also commended the Presidency for the various empowerment and agricultural development programmes going on in the country.The former militants, who pleaded with the Presidency to consider giving the pipeline surveillance contracts to the youths in the region, also advised that the modular refineries should be operated with youths in the oil-bearing communities as stakeholders to help to militate against any grievances that may occur as a result of neglect.
In another development, over 300 indigenes of Peremabiri community in Southern Ijaw Local Council of Bayelsa State have finally returned to their community.
The indigenes, comprising men, women and children, who fled their community following a widespread violence that erupted in the area and had since been camped at the Samson Siasia Stadium in Yenagoa, the state capital, by the state government, returned to their community at the weekend amid fanfare.
They rejoiced and danced applauding Seriake Dickson government for coming to their rescue when their existence was threatened by hoodlums.The state Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Daniel Iworiso-Markson, noted that their safe return signalled the dawn of peace to the once-troubled community.
He expressed profound gratitude to the governor for providing a safe place in Yenagoa for the displaced persons and picking up all their bills for almost two years.