Militants threatens to blow up pipeline over Clark, Buhari’s meeting
From Molly Kilete, Abuja and Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
There are indications that the Federal Government may have concluded plans to establish a private security outfit similar to that of civilian Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta.
The new outfit, according to top military sources, would help the armed forces, the police and other security agencies in the Niger Delta curb the spate of illegal bunkering which has adversely affected the nationís economy.
Daily Sun reliably gathered that the plan to bring the outfit on board started early this year and had reached an advance stage.
Military sources told Daily Sun that already persons to be recruited into the private security outfit have been contacted. Those to be recruited into the Civilian JTF, which was first established in the North-eastern part of the country to work with the military to tackle insurgency, include youths from the area and other volunteers.
Sources also said repentant militants as well as some militants who are tired of the continuous bombing of oil pipelines and other government installations and those whose illegal refineries have been destroyed, have shown interest to be members of the Civilian JTF in the Niger Delta.
Daily Sun further gathered that some community and youth leaders as well as past leaders of militant groups have been contacted to see to the recruitment process of interested persons.
They are among others to ensure that those to be recruited are of good character and do not have any criminal records, while the government would work the amount to be paid as salary to them.
When contacted, the acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier-General Abubakar Rabe, confirmed the report and described it as a welcome development.
Rabe, in a telephone interview said: “Any measure that would bring peace and equally apprehend those who are going about vandalising oil pipelines, I think, is a welcome development and we will work assiduously to ensure that whatever instrument is put in place works well for the overall interest of the country.î
Meanwhile, ahead of a scheduled meeting between Niger Delta leaders and President Mohammadu Buhari, a militant group, Niger Delta Defence Corps (NDDC) have threatened to blow up two pipelines in Delta and Rivers states
According to its spokesman, Major General John Egbe, the group has sent its letter to Buhari through the Secretary to the Federal Government (SGF), but was yet to receive an invitation to send a representative to the meeting.
He declared that failure to invite the group would have dire consequences as the group would carry out attacks on oil pipelines.
Egbe said it was not late to include a representative of the group to ensure that the crisis in the region is resolved. “We the Niger Delta Defence Corps (NDDC) militant group disagree with the step of dialogue system by the President. We have sent the government our letter through the SGFís office. Our representative is yet to receive invitation. For that, we are going to blow up two pipelines in Delta and Rivers states as part of protest in this cause.î
Militants under the aegis of Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA) and Niger Delta Peoples Professional Volunteers Force (NDPPVF) have kicked against the composition of the PNDF, calling for a re-composition if the proposed meeting would have their blessings.
The two militant groups in a joint statement to Chief Clark signed by Cynthia Whyte called for the inclusion of Mr. Timipa Jenkins Okonipere as a member of PNDF because of his understanding knowledge on the problems in the region and his link with the militant group or they would withdraw support for the meeting.