By Dianabasi Effiong
A new security outfit, Operation Sting, has been inaugurated in Port Harcourt by Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.
The governor said at the inauguration on Friday that the outfit was a major move to improve security of lives and property across the state.
According to Wike, Operation Sting will be fully funded by the Rivers Government “with the aim of tackling criminal elements and reducing crime and criminality’’ in all parts of the state.
“Operation sting is therefore, our own specialised and dedicated security initiative anchored on an integrated and complementary approach fully funded by the Rivers State Government,” he said.
He said that the outfit would “effectively tackle both the sources and drivers of insecurity in their diverse criminal manifestations and operations and nip them in their buds or rout and root them out of existence.”
“Under Operation Sting, we have taken concrete steps to strengthen the logistics and operational capability of the civil and armed security forces,’’ Wike said.
He also said his administration would provide the right logistics and equipment to ensure that the new security outfit responded effectively across the state.
Wike said that the outfit would be equipped with 76 operational vehicles fitted with communication gadgets and eight armoured gunboats to tighten coastal security and protect waterways.
According to the governor, the outfit will also have two Armoured Personnel Carriers for police swift response actions and 450 hand-held mobile radios `to enhance communication among security operatives and overcome the current wide gaps in intelligence gathering.
The governor said that the state government had established operational bases in all the 23 local government areas to strengthen the command and control structures of the security initiative.
He said his administration would ensure effective coordination and synergy between the state headquarters, the local government areas and the communities to achieve the common objectives of providing comprehensive security cover.
“ We have established 30 toll free emergency call centres with capacity to support and transmit 30 concurrent calls from the public during distress situations and or during ongoing criminal activities in or around our neighbourhoods,” he said.
Wike said that the operationalisation of Operation Sting was also expected to increase citizens’ awareness and make the public to be more alive to the dangers of insecurity.
The governor said that the state government had set up a fund to cater for families of the officers and men who would participate in the new security architecture should they suffer any mishap in the course of service.
He acknowledged that the state had faced major security challenges in form of kidnapping, cultism, armed robbery and community conflicts.
” The state is not yet as peaceful as the administration desires, hence the renewed effort to stamp out criminality.
“It is this spirit that has led us to come to terms with the fact that insecurity, irrespective of the level of manifestation, whether big or small, violent or otherwise, is an insidious threat to our individual and collective development and prosperity.
“This being so, it is has become rather compelling for us to bring all elements of state power, Federal, State and Local, to bear against every security threat to our state, our persons and our property,’’ he said.
He said that such threats included “those posed by pastoral conflicts and kidnappers’’, adding that his administration was poised `to create and sustain the right social environment to drive our development’.
Wike specifically assured riverside communities that his administration would ensure their safety since the security outfit had been mandated to work on the waterways.
In his remarks, Brig.-Gen. Adeola Kalejaiye, Garrison Commander, 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, said that the armed forces would ensure the security of lives and property in the state.
He said that Operation Sting would act on all credible information from members of the public to ensure that the any form of insecurity was tackled.
The state Commissioner of Police, Mustapha Dandaura, stated that the objective of Operation Sting was to get rid of criminals and reduce crime to the barest minimum.
He gave an assurance that the logistics provided by the governor would be used to fight insecurity in the state.
Dandaura said that improvement in security would be noticed by the people and residents of the state.
The Secretary to the State Government, Dr Tammy Danagogo, described Operation Sting as an initiative of the governor to enhance the security of the people of the state.
Also speaking, King Douglas Jaja, the Amanyanabo of Opobo and Chairman, Rivers Council of Traditional Rulers, expressed happiness that the governor had always prioritised the security of lives and property. (NAN)