By Onome Oghenetega
Amidst the growing insecurity in Delta State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has concluded plans to inaugurate a security outfit called “Operation Delta Hawk.”
The security outfit upon inauguration would work with sister security agencies in the state to urgently tackle the rising cases of crimes across the state.
Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Chiedu Ebie, who disclosed this on Tuesday in Asaba, noted that “Operation Delta Hawks” would also help keep in check the frequent farmers- herders clashes in the state.
Ebie, flanked by the State Commissioner for Information, Mr Charles Aniagwu, at a press conference, reiterated the determination of the Governor Okowa-led government to address the issue of insecurity.
Ebie said that the state government was concerned about the rising insecurity in the state occasioned by herders-farmers clashes, kidnapping and other crimes.
He said the state government had therefore, resolved to set up a security outfit to be controlled by the state in managing the security challenges.
According to him, “we are concerned with the rising wave of insecurity involving clashes between herders and their host communities.
“This matter has been under the focus of the State Government since inception of this administration and had informed the appointments and governance structure that has been created since then.
“It included the creation of Office of Special Adviser (Peace-Building and Conflict Resolution), appointments of persons of Northern extraction and formation of Vigilante Groups in various communities.
“At the same time, we have been very active in the use of intelligence and a recent outcome of this application is the demolition and relocation of the Abraka Market which had turned into a meeting point and haven for criminally-minded persons.
“We have also been quite active in engaging with herders and their host communities to ensure mutual trust and peaceful co-existence through the offices of some of the political appointees.
“Against this background, the recent clashes are quite unfortunate, but let me re-assure Deltans that the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa is rising up to this challenge.
“Already, full compliments of our security outfit are investigating the incidents and I am aware that some arrests have been made as mentioned by the Commissioner of Police recently,’’ he said.
The SSG stressed that the government was ready to rise to the challenge by establishing an independent security outfit to further deal with the challenges, adding that a Bill would be sent to the House of Assembly to give it a legal backing.
“More importantly and to deal with the security challenges, the state government has resolved to establish a joint security taskforce which will be drawn from the existing security agencies (in collaboration with the respective vigilantes).
“But, it will operate under an independent structure that will be backed by legislation. A Bill to this effect will be laid before the House of Assembly in the next few days.
“As tasking as the funding requirements of this new body might be, the state government sees it as a realistic and an inevitable response to the current challenge and other related forms of violence. The Joint Security Outfit has been christened Operation Delta Hawk (OPDH),” he stated
Ebie called on the people not to resort to self-help in the event of any attack as such response was capable of precipitating endless cycle of violence which would do no good to anybody.
“In the meantime, we want to reiterate that the state government is completely averse to resort to self-help on the part of any party as such response is capable of precipitating endless cycle of violence from which no one can profit or benefit from.
“On behalf of the state government, we sincerely condole with the families affected by the recent conflicts and urge Deltans to give us the peaceful social space for our various initiatives to run their courses, including collaborating with the Federal Government to find solution to this national challenge.
“The process of implementing the new security outfit is being worked out and we will brief Deltans further as we get more details,” he stated.