Despite widespread criticisms of the worsening security situation in Nigeria, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed says that that since the beginning of this year, which is barely three weeks old, the Armed Forces of Nigeria have neutralized 158 criminal elements across the country.Mohammed told a news conference on Monday in Abuja that scores of other terrorists and armed bandits were killed during air strikes and that the police and other security and intelligence agencies were ramping up their efforts to enhance security of lives and property across the country.
He explained that 52 criminal elements were arrested, with scores of arms, ammunition and equipment recovered and that the troops have also rescued a total of 17 kidnapped victims across the country.
“In addition, a total of 684,856 barrels of stolen crude oil, 1,724,000 litres of stolen Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) and 500,000 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) have been recovered.
“Furthermore, a total of 1,184 of 25kg bags of Yaraliva Nitrabor Fertilizer were impounded by the troops of the Armed Forces of Nigeria. Please note that in addition to the numbers of neutralized criminal elements quoted above, many others were incapacitated and their camps destroyed,” he said.
According to the minister, the successes being recorded by the security and intelligence agencies in fighting insecurity did not come cheap and that there were the result of the unrelenting efforts and sacrifices of the gallant officers and men of the military as well as other security and intelligence agencies that conduct operations across the country.
“Even though some of the troops paid the supreme price in the course of the operations, the security and intelligence forces have consistently exhibited gallantry and resilience in the various operations. We owe them a debt of gratitude,” he said.
The list some of the successes achieved by the security and intelligence agencies according to the different geo-political zones, included 118 armed bandits killed in action and a total of 11 kidnapped victims rescued since the beginning of the year in the North-West.
“During the same period, a cumulative total of 358 livestock and 5 assorted rifles were recovered from the armed bandits by the gallant troops in the zone. In the same vein, a total of 11 arrests were made, and those arrested include high profile armed bandits, gun runners and bandits’ collaborators.
“In the North-East, within the period under review, 30 terrorists, including some of their commanders, were killed by troops, apart from the scores who were killed by air raids/attacks. Several gun trucks were captured in addition to the 13 recently captured at Marte in Borno State, while some others were destroyed by the gallant troops. Also, a total of 13 assorted rifles and 2 Anti-Aircraft guns were recovered from Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists, in addition, several arrests were made – including high value targets – within the period.
“Now, during the past week alone, five Boko Haram/ISWAP terrorists were eliminated by troops as they attempted to overrun Abbagajiri and Dusula towns in Damboa Local Government Area of Borno.
“The troops, from the 402 Special Forces Task Force Brigade, had on Wednesday encircled some terrorists’ enclaves at Abbagajiri and inflicted heavy casualties on them. Apart from the 5 who were killed, many other terrorists escaped with gunshot wounds, while the troops also captured several guns and some Improvised Explosive Device (IED)-making materials, among others,” he said.
According to him, in the North-Central, within the period, troops of Operations SAFE HAVEN, WHIRL STROKE and THUNDER STRIKE have also achieved appreciable successes as a total of six kidnapped victims were rescued, while five armed bandits, including militia gang leaders, were killed in action.
“Equally, 11 armed bandits were arrested in the zone. Only on Saturday, the Air Component of Operation THUNDER STRIKE neutralized several armed bandits at Chikwale Forest in the
“Mangoro area of Chikun Local Government Area of Kaduna State. The operation followed credible intelligence reports indicating the significant presence of armed bandits in the area, which is about 20Km West of the Kaduna-Abuja Highway,” he said.
The minister added that in the South-South, troops of Operation DELTA SAFE conducted anti-crude-oil theft and illegal-oil-bunkering operations, in addition to anti illegal-maritime activities.
According to the minister, in the course of their operational activities, 24 illegal refining sites, 11 wooden boats, 142 metal tanks, 17 dugout pits and 45 ovens were destroyed. Also, 30 suspects were arrested, while 14 pumping machines, 13 speed boats and 13 outboard engines were recovered. Additionally, a total of 684,856 barrels of stolen crude oil and 1,724,000 litres of illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) as well as 500,000 litres of Dual Purpose Kerosene (DPK) were recovered.
“Furthermore, a total of 1,184 of 25kg bags of Yaraliva Nitrabor Fertilizer suspected to have been smuggled from the Republic of Cameroon were impounded.
“Finally, there is no denying the successes achieved by the Armed Forces of Nigeria and other security and intelligence agencies within the period in focus, which is from Jan. 1, 2021 to the present, which is just a little over three weeks,” the minister added.