Why We Established Operation 777 – Defence Headquarters
Let me welcome you to this Press briefing, which intends to enable us to interact on matters of national security, peace and stability. On 8 of October, 2018, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin established an operation Code named: Operation 777. Operation 777 is intended to re-energised our operations. I am happy to observe that various operations across the nation have assumed new vigor which have recorded a lot of successes in the last few weeks.
Before going into the details of operation 777, let me remind us of these operations
a. Operation WHIRLE PUNCH: It is a an operation established to fight banditry and armed robbery along Abuja-Kaduna road and Birnin Gwari area in Kaduna State.
b. Operation DELTA SAFE: It is established to curb oil theft, pipeline vandalism, illegal oil bunkering and militancy activities in the Niger Delta region.
c. Operation AWATSE: Designed to confront the challenges of illegal bunkering and pipeline vandalism in the area between the Atlas Cove and Mosimi Depot in Lagos and Ogun states. The operation has brought sanity within the affected states.
d. Operation SAFE HAVEN: Primarily to maintain peace in Plateau state. The operation was later expanded to cover some part of Bauchi and Kaduna States.
e. Operation SHARAN DAJI: The operation was established to fight against cattle rustling and banditry activities within the North West which include; Zamfara, Katsina, Sokoto and Kebbi states.
f. CLEARANCE Operations: Created to checkmate the activities of kidnappers, armed robbery and other form of criminalities within the North Central, especially Kogi State.
g. Operation WHIRLE STROKE: This Operation was established to curtail the escalating spate of herdsmen/farmers conflict as well as armed banditry in parts of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States.
The resilience of troops deployed for combined operations and internal security operations in conjunction with other security agencies have continued to curtail the freedom of action of insurgency, militancy and criminal gangs. The spate of herdsmen/farmers crisis and armed banditry in some parts of the country has been greatly reduced. Likewise, cases of illegal bunkering and other forms of criminality in the Niger Delta are being tackled headlong. Hence, operation 777 is designed to consolidate on the achievements of the existing operations.
Operations 777 which commenced on the 10 October 2018, is running concurrently. The Operation is also geared towards enhancing a conducive and stable environment for socio-economic activities and the safety of Nigerians, as well as preventing bandits and outlaws from escaping to other peaceful areas. Consequently, the operation is expected to raise the confidence of the public in the affected states, particularly, the IDPs to return back to their homes.
The activities of troops are being conducted simultaneously in all the operations areas. It is focused on identifying and destroying armed bandits and other persons bearing arms against the Nigerian State. It is also to eliminate armed gangs and adversaries as well as conducting cordon and search operations to retrieve illegal arms and ammunitions. Furthermore, the operations will actively engage and sensitize the locals and the general public to cooperate with the military.
In the last 2 weeks that we embarked on Operation 777 several achievements have been recorded. Across the various operations, large number of arms, ammunitions and other dangerous weapons were recovered. Many suspects were arrested in the process and many neutralized in armed encounter with troops. In Benue State for instance, operation 777 has located the camp of one notorious criminal and cult leader by name Gana. We were able to neutralize more than 15 of his gang members including his wife. Gana managed to escape, but our troops are on his trail. Sequel to this, many of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have started returning home. The Chairman, Logo Local Government Area confirmed that 27,000 out of 34,000 IDPs at Anyiin IDP Camp have returned home.
During the period under review, our gallant troops neutralised 35 Criminals and a total of 98 suspected bandits/criminals were arrested and they are undergoing investigation and shall be handed over to the police for prosecution. The weapon seized include quantity 5 AK 47 Rifles, 20 Bow and arrows, 113 Qty of 7.62mm live ammunition, 20 live cartridges and 4 rifle magazines. Within the period also, 419 rustled cattle were recovered, 405 sheep and 101 goats were recovered and handed over to the various states committees established to return the animals to the rightful owners. In the operation around the maritime areas, a total of 398 metric tonnes of stolen crude oil was recovered, 67, 000 litres of illegally refined AGO, 126 reservoirs, 34 illegal refineries, 27 wooden boats and quantity 101 of 100 litres drums of premium motor spirit (pms) were recovered and destroyed. Regrettably, during these operations, the military suffered some casualties. Two soldiers were killed in action (KIA), two wounded in action. Equally, 2 soldiers were missing in action while one AK 47 rifle is missing in action.
On the 22 October 2018 at about 3pm at Diamond Bank along Ahmadu Bello way, Jos, there was an unfortunate and avoidable altercation between some military personnel and the bank private guards, which resulted to the death of one bank security guard, Mr Linus Edogan and some others wounded. The DHQ has requested for full investigation into the matter and anyone found guilty would be punished according to the military extant law. We commiserate with the family of the victim and the bank management.
Ladies and Gentlemen, in this ongoing Operation, we welcome the full cooperation of the Media in the area of sensitization and enlightenment campaign towards the success of the whole exercise. As a major stakeholder in the Nigeria project, the military and the media should work together towards a conducive environment for peaceful and crime-free society elections.
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