Navy justifies use of air power in Arepo creeks

David Adekunle, Lagos

The Nigerian Navy has said that the resolve to use air power to dismantle vandals camps and shanties in the  Arepo creeks in Ogun state  was borne out of difficulty to access the terrain on water and land.

Briefing journalists on the use of air power, the Flag Officer Commanding, Western Naval Command of the Nigerian Navy, Rear Admiral, Ferguson Bobai said directive came from the Chief of Defence Staff, Maj. Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin to commence operation sequel to the incessant kidnapping, pipeline vandalism and robbery attacks in that area

The joint Military and paramilitary operation code named “AWATSE” a Hausa word for ‘to scatter’ launched the first aerial bombardment on Thursday evening in Iroko creeks of Arepo.

Rear admiral Bobai disclosed that the militants who have built a colony in the creeks attempted to repel the Military but were overpowered by the aerial bombardment.

“In their confusion, some of them mounted a GPMG weapon  in two wooden boats , in an attempt to fire at  the Military but were forced to abandon their weapons owing to the sporadic shots”, he disclosed.

Unconfirmed report had it that lives were lost during the operation but Rear Admiral Ferguson Bobai explained that it was too early to ascertain the number of casualty, as nobody had been able to access the terrain either by land or by water.

“The operation would be sustained as much as the activities of these criminals persists, and all roads leading to the  creeks, camps and shanties had been blocked, the operation would continue with Intelligent Surveillance Reconnaissance ISR via ALFA jet,” he said.