By Sam Otti
The Defence Headquarters has vowed to continue its ongoing military campaign in the Niger Delta to purge the region of criminals and economic saboteurs.
The army said despite the Federal Government’s olive branch to broker peace and proffer lasting solution to the lingering problem in the oil-rich region, some groups were still fanning the ember of war.
In a statement from the Defence Headquarters, the army expressed disaffection with the proliferation of armed militant groups hiding under regional agitations to wreak havoc on oil installations. According to the army, the latest group, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), which claimed responsibility for blowing up NNPC oil pipeline few days ago, has come out again, demanding residents living near oil and gas infrastructure to vacate their homes to avoid being caught in its next attacks.
“The Defence Headquarters wishes to state, in clear term, that no group or individual has the right to threaten or force residents in any part of Nigeria to abandon their homes in obeisance to certain group’s selfish and devilish interest,” the army warned.
The military said it would remain focused, un-intimidated by the antics of these armed groups, noting that they would continue to display professionalism in ensuring adequate security to lives and property in the region and beyond.
Part of the statement reads: “While the Armed Forces respect the government’s negotiation with relevant stakeholders in the Niger Delta, the military exercise and operations in the area are not targeted at any group or meant towards making lives difficult for the inhabitants. The ongoing exercise is geared towards enhancing civil-military relationship and building the confidence of the resident on the ability of the military to protect them. The exercise also demonstrates the strength of the troops to purge the region of criminals and economic saboteurs. The Armed Forces would not tolerate any form of criminality in that region”.
“The military and other security agencies wish to therefore re-affirm their total commitment to ensure security of lives and property, not only in the Niger Delta, but throughout the federation. We also solicit the cooperation of all the stakeholders, including the royal fathers, leaders and youths to achieve this feat. We urge public, especially those residing in the Niger Delta, to discountenance the threat and request innocent citizens and those domiciled therein to go about their legitimate businesses.”