The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has called for increased partnership between the government, the military and other security agencies in the state to rid Edo Forests of kidnappers and other criminal elements.
The governor made the call when he received the new Commander of the Nigerian Air Force 107 Air Maritime Group, Air Commodore Rasheed Abidoye, who was on a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City.
Obaseki, who commended the role of the military in sustaining peace and security in the state noted, “We are relying on you to give us air cover particularly around forest areas, especially Okomu Forest, as we face serious challenges with illegal logging and drugs cultivation in that forest.
“It is easy for criminal elements to get away through the waterways using that part towards Ondo State. Your operations will also help us to identify the kidnappers’ base in the forest zone. We will be glad to sit with you on a monthly basis on those ungoverned spaces of the forest.”
He continued, “We are glad to have you as the Air Force Commander at this base; your predecessor has been very supportive and contributed largely to the peace and security that we enjoy in the state today.
“We have made more progress following the support obtained from security agencies. Also, the quality of your collaboration has helped us unravel issues relating to security in the state. We want to further localise security in the state because security is local. This will enable us to have enough men on the ground to provide intelligence needed to secure the state.”
“We rely on you to give these people air cover particularly at the forest areas as we have challenges in these areas particularly illegal wood loggers, cultivation of drugs, as well as kidnappers using the forest as a base,” the governor added.
On his part, the new Commander commended the governor for the good relationship with the Air Force, adding, “I want to assure you that we are actively participating in the ongoing operation WABAIZIGAN as we continue to contribute our quota in ensuring a peaceful environment.
“We are providing security at the Airport and have deployed 20 special security personnel trained on Airport security; we are receiving them this weekend to beef up the security at the Airport. We are also working on improving security at the Airport environment and providing helicopters for security surveillance.”