Nineteen people, among them, an ordained Bishop, have been arrested by troops of the Nigerian Army in the ongoing Operation Crocodile Smile II in the South South and South West, for armed robbery, kidnapping and cult activities in Akwa Ibom State.
It was learnt that the Bishop, identified as Uwah Mfon and other suspects who include Saviour Friday, Nsika Udoh, Akan Monday, Abak Obong and Oyobong Frank were arrested for allegedly terrorising Abak Obong, Oruk Atai and Ikot Obong in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of the state.
Deputy Director, Army/Public Relations, and 6 Division spokesman, Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, said the suspects, who were arrested by troops of 2 Brigade, have been handed over to the Police for prosecution. Iliyasu said bishop Mfon was allegedly believed to be a financier of wanted criminals terrorising the areas.
“The bishop is believed to be the financier of wanted criminals. He was arrested in Ikot Ibekwe community. “The suspect is volunteering information about gangs of kidnappers and cult members linked to him.
“All the suspects and recovered items have been handed over to relevant security agencies for possible prosecution while the operation continues,” said Iliyasu.
…Dickson justifies support for exercise
From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has said his support for Operation Crocodile Smile II in Bayelsa State has been justified. He said the military operation, which is basically made up of patrol in the creeks and rivulets, to demonstrate military presence, would enhance the security strategy the state government has been putting in place.
There had been mixed reactions in Ijaw communities since the military announced commencement of the exercise, especially its medical outreach programmes in some communities.
But Dickson, who spoke in Yenagoa, yesterday, allayed the fears of the people and disclosed that he is in full support of the military and the medical outreach programme. The governor said he had met with the top echelon of the army and had been briefed on its operation and the communities they would visit for the medical outreach programme.
He urged community leaders and the people to cooperate with the army, and noted that their presence in the waterways would drive away criminal elements who have been tormenting the people.
Dickson also assured the people that the army has promised to be professional in their operations, and added that any misconduct by any soldier should be reported to him, through dedicated hotlines lines on Contriman Direct, for him to take it up with the military.
“I think the exercise of going to the creeks in a show of force has the capacity to scare away the bad guys.
“The exercise would have a great impact on our security rating. The Operation Crocodile Smile has my support.
“The army commanders have explained to me. Bayelsans should trust me that if the army do anything illegal against my people, I will take it up with them.
“Bayelsans should trust me to speak out. We should allow the army to go to the creeks, chase out the sea-pirates, kidnappers and vandals. I have already received briefings on what they want to do.
“I would not support the military in going into any community unless there is a compelling reason or without me being informed.”
The governor also endorsed the army medical outreach when he received the Chief of Logistics, Army Headquarters, Maj. Gen. Rogers Nicholas, who delivered a letter of commendation from the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai.
“The military and other security agencies are a force for good. And, I want to seize this opportunity to call on community leaders to continue to support the military.
“We can’t have a Nigerian military that is coming here to inject people with poisonous substances. “That is not the army we have. This is our own army. These are our brothers, friends and fellow Nigerians, who mean well for all of us”. …Dickson has justified support for exercise From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa Governor Henry Seriake Dickson has said his support for ‘Operation Crocodile Smile II in Bayelsa State has been justified. (The Sun)