• Breaking News

    BreakingNews: Nigerian Military Declares War on NDA Militants, see full story here

    vows to go after Niger Delta Avengers
    FG: No fresh amnesty for militants
    Boroh: We won’t reward criminals with medals.

    Following sustained attacks on oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta, the military has declared war on the militants operating under the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), which have claimed responsibility for the destruction of oil pipelines.
    Also, the Federal Government yesterday ruled out fresh amnesty for the militants. It said that it would not reward criminals with medals under the guise of seeking peace.

    The Federal Government warned that it would not succumb to the blackmail of the militants who have been vandalising pipelines and other strategic oil facilities in the oilrich region.

    Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonishakin, vowed that the military would go after the militants if they fail to stop the attacks on national assets. “If they continue to choose the path of bombing pipelines, then we will go after them and deal with the situation appropriately,” he said.

    Olonishakin spoke at the inauguration of 12 refurbished gunboats and 40-bed space accommodation for troops in Okirika Local Government Area of Rivers. He said that the military was currently assessing the situation in the Niger Delta with a view to engaging stakeholders to maintain law and order in the region.

    According to him, engagement with militants will involve governors of various states and political leaders in the Niger Delta. “Government and military is using multi-faceted approach rather than force alone to ensure that resurgent attacks on oil and gas installations are stopped.

    “We have told them (militants) to stop the destruction of oil and gas facilities and other critical national assets, as it negatively affects the economy with impact on livelihood of the people.

    “If they (militants) have grievances, they should take it up with government rather than their current approach which is not in the best interest of the nation,” he said.

    Olonishakin said that efforts were on to provide more gunboats and other military hardware for troops to maintain 24- hour patrol of about 5,000 creeks and waterways in the region.

    The military chief said that the provision of military hardware would boost the capacity of Operation Pulo Shield “to confront oil theft and illegal bunkering of petroleum products in the region.”
    “Repair of these gunboats will, no doubt, improve the capacity of the brigade to meet its responsibility in curtailing criminal acts in our inland waterways,” he added.

    Olonishakin commended the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Commander of Army 2 Brigade, Port Harcourt, Brig.-Gen. Stevenson Olabanji, for the repair of the boats.
    Also, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, said that the armed forces were currently faced with logistics challenges in its operations in the Niger Delta.

    He said, however, that the challenges would not deter troops from continu-ing to fight the menace of sea piracy, militancy, oil theft and general insecurity in the region.

    According to him, the 40-bed space accommodation, will serve as an operating base for troops to patrol and respond to crisis situations in the area.

    Other service chiefs at the event included the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar and the General Officer Commanding 82 Division, Enugu, Maj-Gen. Ibrahim Attahiru, among others.

    Meanhile, Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), who addressed journalists yesterday on the renewed hostilities in the Niger Delta, said it was wrong for criminals to embark on wanton destruction of facilities strategic to the economy of the nation after the Federal Government had already given general amnesty to militants and was actively training those who signed up to the programme.

    The Federal Government, Boroh said, had consistently kept faith with the implementation of the Amnesty Programme it declared on June 25, 2009 and which it was winding down with an exit strategy already put in place.

    He asked all those involved in the renewed acts of economic sabotage against the nation, to retrace their steps or be prepared to face the consequences of such criminality. According to him, the Federal Government will not reward criminals with medals under the guise of seeking peace.

    “There is no plan to go back on the Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government and all men of goodwill in the Niger Delta should do all they can to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s peace and development effort in the region.

    “Let it be made known that no amnesty programme lasts forever and that the one in the Niger Delta cannot be elastic. The programme had a set deadline and had since expired, but the president graciously extended it and put an exit strategy in place to cater for the interest of all.

    Any individual or group that engages in criminal destruction of economic facilities in the Niger Delta under the guise of militancy should understand that there are dire consequences for such acts and that the law enforcements agents will not fold their hands and watch them do so,” Boroh said.

    He explained that all those who were captured under the Presidential Amnesty Programme launched during the regime of former President Umar Musa Yar’Adua were being paid their wages monthly while those undergoing training were also being catered for by the government.

    Boroh implored the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the group that has claimed responsibility for the recent bombing of oil facilities, to sheathe their sword and allow multinational oil companies go about their normal businesses without fear or hindrance.

    In the last couple of weeks, Nigeria has lost huge revenues owing to the sustained attacks on oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta. The ruptured pipelines are those conveying crude oil to the export terminals and refineries while the others supplied gas to the thermal power stations for the generation of electricity in the country.

    The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) first came under the spotlight in February, when it claimed responsibility for an attack on an underwater pipeline owned by the Royal Dutch Shell.

    The NDA has since attacked similar facilities owned by Chevron and Agip while the group has threatened to continue the onslaught until the Federal Government meets its demands.

    The group had posted on its website a list of conditions which the Federal Government must meet for peace to reign.

    These include the immediate implementation of the report of the 2014 National Conference; an apology to the people of the Niger Delta and family of late Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha for ‘killing’ him with intimidation and harassment because of his party affiliation and the re-allocation of oil blocks to ensure their ownership reflected 60 per cent for the oil-producing region and 40 per cent for the non-oil producing region.

    Other demands include the re-activation of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State; the clean-up of Ogoniland and all oil polluted lands in the Niger Delta; the immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), as well as the continuation of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme.

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