President Muhammadu Buhari has dispatched the nation’s service chiefs to the oil-rich Niger Delta to deal with the resurgent militancy and secure the area from economic sabotage and other acts of criminality. This is in line with the President’s threat, to deal with those blowing up oil installations in the Niger Delta like Boko Haram terrorists are being dealt with.
It would be recalled that the president had while speaking in Beijing, at a meeting with members of the Nigerian community in China, said his administration would descend heavily on oil and gas pipeline vandals as well as other saboteurs the same way the nation’s Armed Forces have dealt and are still dealing with members of the Boko Haram sect in North-east Nigeria.
In line with the President’s directive, a team, led by the Chief of Defence Staff, (CDS), Gen. Gabriel Olanisakin, accompanied by the Chief of Naval Staff, (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas yesterday stormed the headquarters of the Operation Pulo Shield in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Gabriel Olanisakin, who spoke during the inspection tour said the Nigerian Armed Forces have resolved to deal with pipeline vandals, oil thieves, kidnappers, cultists and sundry crimes in the Niger Delta region, even as the team already identified 10 security threats in the region. He said:
“The visit followed the strategic directive of the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammad Buhari, to deal with identified security threats in the Niger Delta.”
Commander of Operation Pulo Shield (OPS), Maj. Gen. Alani Okunlola, added that “anybody or group masquerading as militants are criminals and will be resisted and crushed in line with the mandate of the Joint Force in the Niger Delta,” thus, urging the ‘so-called Niger Delta Avengers’ to halt its much publicized intention to blow up oil pipelines.
“The command also wishes to assure the Niger Delta residents of the OPS’s determination to wipe out all acts of illegalities in the region. We call on them to come up with useful information that will aid the Joint Force in its operations
“May I also assure the people of the region that the Joint Force is on top of the situation and will soon round up the criminals and bring them to justice.”
A group of the ex-militants, had earlier threatened to resume pipeline bombings in the creeks if the federal and state governments does not honour the amnesty agreement reached in 2011.
Mr. Okunlola however stressed that the Federal Government granted amnesty to repentant agitators and the amnesty automatically ends militancy and agitation in the region. “Any group or persons under whatever guise will be treated like common criminals,” he warned.