The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) says it has concluded plans with other sister security agencies to storm forests across Edo and chase out criminals hiding there.
Mr Aniekan Udoeyop, the Commandant of the corps in the state disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin-City on Friday.
Udoeyop said that the exercise would be carried out in collaboration with the Army, the DSS, the Police and the NDLEA.
He said that the activities of criminals operating from forests in Edo had become worrisome and the command together with other sister security agencies was poised to take the battle to their enclave.
“We will not allow these criminals who lurk in bushes and forests in the state to continue to cause sleepless nights to our farmers and residents.
“That is why we have said enough is enough. The NSCDC and the Army, the DSS, the Police, and the NDLEA are going to take the battle to them and flush them out of the farms, the bushes and the forests across the state where they are hiding,’’ he said.
The commandant also stressed that the activities of the criminals in the forests had caused untold hardships to the residents and if not checked, they would get worse.
“We are talking about insecurity now, but the worst that is to come is food insecurity.
“And this is because of the activities of criminals and bandits in our forests, farms and bushes.
“As we speak now, how many farmers can go to their farms? So if farmers can’t go to their farms because of kidnapping, raping and killings, then how will you take care of yourself, your family and the state?’’ he asked.
Udoeyop said that the agencies would appeal to the state government to issue a two-week ultimatum to those carrying out legitimate businesses in the bushes or forests to vacate those places.
“This is for the purpose of some herders who are genuinely grazing their flock and are not involved in criminality to have an opportunity to leave the forests.
“On expiration of the two-week ultimatum, there will be no mercy for any person in the forest, as we will treat such a person as a criminal,’’ he said.
The commandant disclosed that the command had within the week held a strategic meeting with the hunters’ association in the state, those in charge of forest reserve, the Edo Security Network (ESN) and the vigilance group.
Udoeyop said that those were actually the people who are conversant with the terrains of the forests and bushes.
He explained that the meeting with them was to rub minds together with a view to knowing how the criminals were operating from the forests.
“Then, the NSCDC, the Army, the DSS, the Police and the NDLEA personnel will jointly enter the forests and flush the bandits out.
“We will also ensure that residents of the state and their belongings are protected,’’ he said. (NAN)