Bamigbola Gbolagunte, Akure
Ondo State government yesterday expressed its readiness to intervene in the ongoing face-off between the Nigerian Navy and the riverine communities of Ilaje Local Government Area.
Specifically, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu expressed concern over reported cases of incessant altercations between the navy and the communities, occasioned by the former’s efforts to recover arms allegedly in the possession of some youths.
Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Donald Ojogo, in a statement yesterday, said: “For the records, government received series of reports in respect of this development and has followed up efforts geared toward the recovery of such arms allegedly in the hands of some youths.
“All the same, it is worthy of mention that the desired success in this regard can only be achieved through community based intelligence gathering. It is believed that under circumstances as such, the communities are possibly, likely to be more helpful.
“Incessant altercations can only lead to needless fear, create apprehensions and brood friction and inadvertently, sustain suspicion.
“Government, therefore, appeals to the Nigerian Navy to de-escalate tension by engaging the communities in a manner that will engender a friendly approach to achieve positive results.
“Nonetheless, community leaders in the riverine areas of the state must, as a matter of urgency, show enough cooperation with security agencies to make the waterways safe.
“Confirmed reports of collaboration between community leaders and criminals will not be overlooked as government will leave no stone unturned to bring perpetrators to face the full wrath of the law,” he said.