Operation 777: Defence Headquarters recount achievements of Operation AWATSE


The Defence Headquarters has said that Operation AWATSE has recorded tremendous achievements since the commencement of Operation 777 in October this year.

It will be recalled that Operation AWATSE is one of the 7 Joint Task Forces under the control of Defence Headquarters participating in Operation 777, an operation also being conducted and coordinated simultaneously nationwide by the Defence Headquarters.

It is worthy of note that Operation AWATSE’s mandate is the protection of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipelines and infrastructure along the 72 km stretch of pipelines from Atlas Cove to Mosimi Depot and conduct of operations against anti-kidnapping, anti-robbery and related criminal activities including the security of Epe and Ogun Waterside in Lagos and Ogun States.

Speaking at a press briefing in Lagos yesterday, the acting Director Defence Information, Brigadier General John Agim recalled that prior to the launch of Operation 777 on 8 October 2018, Operation AWATSE had recorded successes in curbing criminal activities in its Area of Responsibility.

Agim stated that notwithstanding the successes so far recorded, targeted pipeline vandalism and oil theft still occurred intermittently particularly in isolated areas where NNPC pipelines were located even as he said that the activities of cultists particularly the AIYE and EIYE confraternities re-emerged in Ikorodu and Shagamu areas of Lagos and Ogun States respectively, with resultant negative impact on the safety of lives and properties.

He however added that since the commencement of Operation 777 to rejig the existing operations, Operation AWATSE activities were intensified through extensive patrols to ensure that troops dominate the Joint Operations Area (JOA) respective areas of operation.

“Currently, Operation AWATSE troops have dominated FESTAC, Ijeododo, Ijagemo, Isawo, Majidun, Arepo, Elepete and Imagbon, while regular patrols are being conducted in other areas left uncovered due to shortage of manpower.

“Since the commencement of Operation 777, Operation AWATSE operational activities have been aimed at denying criminals freedom of action and migration, and making of arrests where possible. The activities include patrols, ground and air reconnaissance, anti-bunkering and anti-cultism operations including Show of Force. These operations have suppressed the activities of miscreants significantly and led to the arrest of suspected pipeline vandals, cultists, robbers and other criminals.

“Additionally, large volumes of petroleum products and other items have been recovered from vandals and oil thieves in areas such as Atlas Cove, Magboro, Ogijo, Akute-Odo, Isashi Akute, Ogijo and Akute Waterside. Nonetheless, the intention is to maintain the current tempo of operations in the JOA to ensure the activities of miscreants are highly mitigated”, he said.

On the achievements recorded so far by the Operation, he said, “It is worth mentioning that Operation AWATSE has recorded tremendous achievements since the commencement of Operation 777. Some of the achievements include the arrest of 12 suspected pipeline vandals, 3 tankers, one trailer, 7 vehicles. Also arrested were 9 wooden boats, which were destroyed in situ. Additionally, an estimated quantity of 120,000 litres of Premium Motor Spirit valued at Seventeen Million, Four Hundred Thousand Naira (N17,400,000.00) illegally siphoned from vandalized Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Pipelines has so far been recovered.  Furthermore, a total of 26 suspected cultists, armed robbers and other criminals have been arrested within the period. Most of the suspects have been handed over to relevant prosecuting agencies for further investigation and possible prosecution, while the Headquarters 81 Division Provost is investigating some cases”.

The Defence spokesman disclosed that some of the achievements recorded by Operation AWATSE were made possible by the support of locals adding that that was an indication of the willingness on the part of the good citizens of Lagos and Ogun States to live in a society devoid of crime.

While reassuring the public that the troops would continue to remain professional in the discharge of their constitutional role, he however called on law-abiding citizens to continue to give timely information to Operation AWATSE troops and other security agencies for prompt action.

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