Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike yesterday launched Operation Sting to tackle criminal elements and reduce crime in all parts of the state.
The state has suffered major security challenges in form of kidnappings, cult clashes, killings, armed robbery and community conflicts.
The state government had made similar move last two years when it attempted to launch the Neigbourhood Watch, but it was foiled by the military, which described it as a local militia.
But while launching the new security architecture at the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt yesterday, Wike disclosed that the Operation Sting would be fully funded by the state government.
“Operation Sting, is therefore, our own specialised and dedicated security initiative anchored on an integrated and complementary approach, fully funded by the state government to effectively tackle both the sources and drivers of insecurity in their criminal manifestations and operations and rout them out of existence.
“Under Operation Sting, we have taken steps to strengthen logistics and operational capability of the civil and armed security forces,” he said.
Governor Wike added that to ensure the new security outfit responds effectively to distress calls across the state, his administration provided the right logistics and equipment. “About 76 patrol and operational vehicles fitted with communication gadgets, eight armoured fitted gunboats have been provided, to beef up coastal security and protect our waterways from the activities of criminals have been provided,” he added
Others are, two armoured Personnel Carriers for Police swift response action, 450 hand-held mobile radios to enhance communication among the security operatives and overcome the current wide gaps in intelligence gathering.
Wike noted that the state government has established operational bases in all the 23 Local government areas to strengthen the command and control structures of the initiative and ensure effective coordination and synergy between the state’s headquarters, councils and the communities to provide comprehensive security for the state.
Speaking, Garrison Commander, 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Brigadier General Adeola Kalejaiye, said the armed forces would leave no stone unturned in ensuring the security of lives and property in Rivers State.
Responding, the state Commissioner of Police (CP), Mustapha Dandaura, said the objective of Operation Sting is to rid the state of criminals and reduce crime to the barest minimum. He assured Rivers people that the logistics provided by Governor Wike would be used to fight insecurity in the state, adding that in the next one month, residents would notice improvement in the state’s security.