Bulldozers roared into Isawo and Yewa creeks in Ikorodu Area of Lagos as government began clearing the vestige of Niger Delta militants and oil pipeline thieves.
Nigeria’s military authorities, including the airforce had flushed the area of the rebellious militants weeks ago. The militants had unleashed violence around the area and were suspected to have kidnapped the traditional ruler of Iba town.
A NAN correspondent who visited the area today said bulldozers have moved into the creeks, pulling down trees and illegal structures used as camps by suspected pipeline vandals.
The operation, jointly supervised by Lagos State Government and Joint Military Task Force, also involved the clearing of heaps of jerry cans of petroleum products abandoned by the vandals.
Acting Inspector-General of Police, Idris Ibrahim, had during an assessment visit on Aug. 4 said that police patrol boats would be deployed to the area once the creek was cleared.
Chief Muse Ibrahim, the traditional ruler of Oke-Oko/Oke-Tapa communities, told NAN that the clearing of the creeks was a great relief to residents of the area.
“The clearing of the creeks is a welcome development and it is long overdue.
“The creeks have been a security challenge to us. We believe that if the forest is cleared, the vandals will have no place to hide.
“The pipeline vandals have been operating freely within the creeks of Arepo in Ogun State, Isawo, Yewa in Ikorodu area,’’ the traditional ruler told NAN.
He urged government to clear the entire creeks from Isawo and Yewa to Arepo area of Ogun and deploy regular marine police patrol in the area.
The royal father accused some members of the community of conniving with suspected pipeline vandals to unleash terror on the residents.
“Those identified participated in the killings and burning of houses.
“We also want government to demolish all buildings in the area belonging to vandals,’’ the traditional ruler said.
Ibrahim thanked government and security agencies for rescuing them from the vandals and called for the establishment of a military base as a permanent measure to check vandalism in the area.
Also, Mr Adekunle Alasopupo, a community leader, told NAN that violent crimes such as robbery, kidnapping, vandalism, rape and cultism had reduced since the arrival of military task force in the area.
“The police at Owutu could not cover the area effectively; now that the creeks are being cleared, we want SARS to patrol the areas regularly.
“They should raid all the black spots in the area to arrest other criminals. The vandals were a terror here; they killed, raped and kidnapped.
“Before the arrival of the military joint task force, they were in charge of these areas, nobody dared talk to them.
“They carried guns and wear army uniforms and moved around freely, particularly at Oke-Oko bus stop.
“We had our local security operatives like vigilante and OPC, but could not match the weapons of the vandals,’’ said Alasopupo, Chairman, Oluwakemi Community Development Association in Ikorodu West Council Area.
Another community leader, Mr Akinyan Olugbenga, urged security operatives to comb all areas of Ikorodu already infiltrated by vandals and cultists.
Olugbega called on the government to construct a link road between Isawo and Magodo on the Lagos – Ibadan Expressway to further develop areas.