Gov.Akeredolu Warns Riverine Communities Against Harbouring Kidnappers

The Ondo State Governor, Mr Oluwarotimi Akeredolu has warned residents of the riverine communities in the state to desist from harbouring criminals.Akeredolu gave the warning during a courtesy visit by the Commander, Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe, in Akure, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman.He said that people of the area had been admonished severally about the dangers of harbouring kidnappers to forestall the consequences of such unwholesome act.Akeredolu, however, commended the professional handling of the Ajakpa crisis but regretted the loss of lives and wanton destruction of property.“We commend the last JTF operation in Ajakpa because if we had allowed criminality to fester, the community would have been in total danger.“Engage anyone you want if you need assistance in your operations, I give you assurance that the state is prepared to assist,” he said.The governor also promised to support the military in ensuring that those who had hands in the gruesome killing of military officers in the area face the full wrath of the law, no matter how highly placed or connected.“People have killed your men and it is unfortunate. I know that we always react when faced with such loss of officers, we condole with the military.”He, however, suggested non-military approach to the issue to make people fall in line, adding that some people might react ignorantly to situations at times.“Maybe we don’t use force against force and see what we can do.“You can make negotiations; we are prepared to back it up. But where it fails, we will not hesitate to allow deployment of full force for total operations to secure lives and property.”Earlier, Suleiman, stated that the team was on an operational visit to the state, particularly the Southern district as part of its joint operations.“We are Federal Government’s tool on ground that you can use for the purpose of peace, development and protection of lives and property in your state,” he saidHe said that what was reported in some newspapers on the Ajakpa crisis was different from the issue.“We were not the ones that attacked people of Ajakpa community in the Southern area.‘’We don’t attack people. We operate essentially based on our code of conduct and rules of engagement as promulgated by Chief of Defence Staff on the establishment of our operation.“In this case, they attacked us and killed our soldiers unprovoked. We volunteered to join this service, we left our family members and made sacrifice to keep the country together. In the process, some miscreants would just take their lives. It is sad.“We have lost soldiers and we are still searching for those who killed them. But unfortunately, the perpetrators are still hiding in the creeks.“We are still carrying out investigations that will get us to the root of the incident.”Suleiman commended the efforts of the state government in condoling with the family members of the deceased and providing financial support to them.The three soldiers were killed and one seriously injured by militants of Ajakpa community in Ese-Odo Local Government during a shootout, early May.