By Abdallah el-Kurebe, Editor
#TrackNigeria: Troops of 8 Division of the Nigerian Army, operating on Exercise Egwu Eke III, in conjunction with other security agencies on Saturday in Sokoto recovered dangerous weapons from criminals and political thugs.
A statement by the Director Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka issued Sunday said the development had contributed immensely to a peaceful security situation in the State.
“On Saturday, 2nd January 2019, troops on joint stop and search patrol patrol with other security agencies, arrested 16 persons believed to be political thugs armed with dangerous weapons along Illela-Danfulani-Gwadabawa road.
“The suspects were arrested armed with 27 axes and 16 customised sticks. While still conducting the search, a prominent politician in the state and a serving Senator, came to the scene and ordered his mobile police escorts to release them.
“In the process, an operative of the Department of State Service (DSS) was molested and his clothes torn. The patriotic and professional officer still held on to the seized weapons. Similarly, another prominent politician from Zamfara State had earlier tried to influence the investigation of arrested armed political thugs.
“These undue pressures and attempts to interfere with the conduct of the Exercise for selfish reasons are indeed worrisome and disturbing and will not be tolerated.
“The Nigerian Army has always been professional, impartial and apolitical and will continue to be so. Since the operationalization of the Exercise in January 2019, we have arrested thugs armed with dangerous weapons across the various political parties, without fear or favour.
“The thugs were documented and handed over to the police. We have noted with great concern that such criminals usually find themselves back into the society without any sanction.
“Consequently, we would like to reiterate our commitment to creating a conducive and secured environment for the smooth and peaceful conduct of the forthcoming general elections in the country.
“Therefore, we would not tolerate any undue interference from any quarters in the discharge of this noble responsibility.
“Additionally, we have resolved to hold on to any arrested criminal or armed thugs till the end of the elections.
“All Commanders have been further directed to continue to carry out their duties diligently, despite the provocation from some misguided elements,” the statement read in full.