SaharaReporters learnt that Wike, who was represented by his deputy, Mrs Ipalibo Banigo, met with the army chief only days after the dreaded operatives of the Eastern Security Network (ESN) launched into Eleme forests to force out Fulani herdsmen who had reportedly taken over people’s farms.
The Chief of the Army Staff, Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, has visited Port Harcourt, Rivers State where he held a meeting with Governor Nyesom Wike, who asked him to deal with criminals and the current security challenges in the state.
SaharaReporters learnt that Wike and his deputy, Mrs Ipalibo Banigo, met with the army chief only days after the dreaded operatives of the Eastern Security Network launched into Eleme forests to force out Fulani herdsmen who had reportedly taken over people’s farms.
“The governor and his deputy met with the army chief on a number of issues. Part of these is the request for the military to flush out the ESN and IPOB (Indigenous People of Biafra) irritants in his state. But he did mention in his remarks to the army that he was confident about Attahiru’s capability to tackle the current security situation bedeviling the country. That was a subtle go-ahead to deal with the gunmen in Eleme,” a source revealed.
The army chief too in his remarks was praising Wike for not tolerating or supporting the ESN, IPOB and other separatist groups which were all over the South-East but finding Rivers State impenetrable,” the source added.
The army confirmed in a release on Wednesday that the army chief was in Rivers State, while branding it a “familiarisation visit to units and formations in the Nigerian Army.”
“The Chief of Army Staff on Tuesday paid his maiden operational visit to Headquarters, 6 Division, Port Harcourt, where he charged the officers and soldiers to key into his vision to have an army which is repositioned to defeat all adversaries.
“The COAS also visited 6 Division and Land Component Soldiers of Operation Delta Safe at 29 Battalion parade ground, Port Harcourt Barracks. In his address to the troops on parade, he assured them of his readiness to properly address all the challenges they are facing and further disclosed that the GOC had already briefed him on some of the challenges which he assured them would be addressed in due time.
“He urged them to remain loyal and professional in the discharge of their duties and emphasised his readiness to commend outstanding soldiers, as well as punish those found wanting,” the army’s Director of Public Relations, Brig Gen Mohammed Yerima, said in a statement on Wednesday morning.
SaharaReporters had on Monday reported that ESN operatives were mobilising into the forests of the Eleme Local Government Area of Rivers State, to force out Fulani herdsmen who had reportedly taken over people’s farms.
Since Saturday, there has been tension in Agbonchia community in the Eleme LGA after Fulani herdsmen invaded the area, destroying farmlands and assaulting the residents.
SaharaReporters had on Saturday reported that the invasion started last Monday with residents deserting the area gradually due to the fear of the killer herdsmen, who reportedly also raped some women in the community.
Some of the residents had told SaharaReporters that a massive peaceful protest was carried out on Friday to force the attention of the state and federal governments to the community which is presently under herdsmen’s siege.