Ondo State Governor, Mr. Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has appealed to the fleeing residents of Ajapa, a riverine community in Ese-Odo local government area of the state to return to their various homes.
The governor, who made the plea, while speaking with reporters shortly after he made a visit to the community to assess the level of damage done, said the presence of military personnel in the community was not to harass the innocent people but to flush out criminals.
Ajapa became deserted following a clash between a Special Military Task Force Team and militants.
The incident led to the killing of a soldier and the leader of of the militants' group called, Ossy Ibori.
Akeredolu, who was represented by his Deputy, Hon. Ajayi Agboola said the level of damage he saw in the community was not as bad as it was being reported in the media.
He commended the soldiers for being civil in the way they handled the issue despite a soldier was killed.
He assured security operatives that government will continue to support them in flushing out criminals from the state.
His words, "Our observation was that the situation was not as bad as it was being reported in the dailies and social media.
"You should ordinarily expect attack when a civilian gang or militants kill a soldiers. Honestly, I must commend the soldiers on how they handled the issue. It was a coordinated clean up exercise. They targeted the militants hideout and which the government will not condole.
"It was unfortunate, we got there and we could not meet anyone in the community. It is the fear of unknown. We are appealing to them to come back to their homes since they are not criminal or militants".