BY GABRIEL OKECHUKWU, PORT HARCOURT
Over three thousand, five hundred small arms and light weapons have been mopped up by Operation Delta Safe from twenty sixteen to date.
The Commander Joint Task Force South – South, Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Aminu Hassan who made the revelation while handing over the weapons to National Center for the Control of Small Arms and light Weapons at Six Division Nigerian Army Port Harcourt, said the arms were recovered from vandals, illegal oil bunkerers, arms smugglers and drug dealers.
Rear Admiral Hassan, who maintained that the recovery was made possible through raids, cordon and Search, as well as stop and search operations warned that anyone in possession of illegal arms would be traced, arrested and prosecuted.
“We are here to hand over weapons recovered by troops of Operation Delta Safe in the course of operations.”
“The handing over here is symbolic, the weapons are very large.”
“These are the ones brought out for display; others will be handed over after this ceremony.”
“Anybody that knows that he is not entitled to bear weapons should desist from that, and anybody that knows that he or she has such in his or her possession should try as much as possible to hand over these weapons, otherwise, like I said, we are not going to leave any stone unturned.”
“We are going to implement the presidential directive to the later.”
The Operation Delta Safe Commander who expressed displeasure over the proliferation of small arms in the society noted that it contributes to the increase in sundry crimes in parts of the country.
Receiving the arms, the Zonal Coordinator, South-South, National Center for the Control of Small Arms and light Weapons, Retired Major General Obot Efiong said the Federal government set up the group to prevent kidnapping, Armed robbery and banditry.
Retired Major General Efiong who represented the National Coordinator Major General AM Dikko insisted that Federal government was serious over the decision to mop up arms from the hands of non state actors.
“The weapons we have received, which are illicit weapons were retrieved mostly from non state actors.”
“By our mandate, these weapons are going to be destroyed completely.”
“I can assure you that the center is doing all it can in terms of intelligence gathering, in terms of tracking and in terms of advocacy to ensure that these weapons don’t find themselves into the country and that non state actors do not bear weapons.”
While giving assurance that the weapons will not find their ways back to the society he gave assurance that the weapons would be destroyed in line with international best practices.
LThe event was attended by top military Hierarchy, including the General Officer Commanding Six Division Nigerian Army and land Component Commander Operation Delta Safe, Major General Olufemi Oluyede.