People gather at Balogun market two days before Christmas in central Lagos December 23, 2013. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

Normalcy has returned to Arepo, Ibafo and Ogijo areas of Ogun State after a military operation that was targeted at flushing out militants terrorising the communities.
Commercial and other activities are beginning to pick up after residents who had earlier abandoned the areas started returning home.
Hoodlums suspected to be militants had terrorised the communities for almost two months, killing many people while property were looted.
But a joint military operation involving men of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Department of State Services, police and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps which started last Thursday, flushed the militants out of their hideouts.
No fewer that 120 militants were reportedly killed during the operation which included air strikes.
When the creek was visited yesterday, hundreds of 50 liters jerrycans were well packed on the water, while about 10 boats were also seen at the water bank.
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State, who visited the creek alongside service chiefs, expressed satisfaction at the military operation.
Residents, who trooped out in their hundreds, couldn’t hide their joy as they sang to welcome the governor.
Amosun, who lauded President Muhammdu Buhari for the intervention, added that buildings up to 500 meters should be demolished to pave way for easy access to the creek.
“This is a big business and well organised, illegal though, because if you look at the number of jerrycans here, they would be in their hundreds. You can only feel sorry for us as a nation, some people, all they want to do is to continue to undermine Nigeria, our economy, what we stand for, they care less whether lives are lost, may be property are damaged, they don’t care for life, they do not have any qualms in killing people, burning houses even raping, maiming and it is a big shame.
“But with what is happening in the Niger Delta, pressure was put on this area and they believe that this is a comfort zone, that was the reason why they redoubled efforts and continued with these nefarious activities.
‘‘I want to appeal that we should not just leave this place like that, yes, they have run away for obvious reasons, but we have what I call a force that is beyond theirs, you know ordinarily they will come, they even go to places doing all sorts, but when they saw the superior power of ours, they fled and that is why you see all these things, we see all the traces, they were well organised.
“It is not here alone and we as a state government will try to interface with you and we will continue to support the federal government. I think maybe about 500 kilometres roads to all these creeks should be cleared so that they will not have any place to hide because if you look at all the houses and everything here clearly there is an invitation to treat even though they are criminals so maybe they have a place to quickly seek abode, if this place is cleared, 500 metres to the creeks you know that they cannot even hide there.”


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