Ben Dunno, Warri
Nigerian Army operatives under 63 Brigade Command have issued a warning to criminals involved in oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism and kidnapping in the Niger Delta that they desist from such activities or face dire consequences.
The 63 Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Usman Bello, who issued the warning on Tuesday at the flag-off of Exercise Crocodile Smile IV at Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State, said the troops would no longer condole such lawlessness.
In a speech delivered on his behalf by Col. Nyong Orok, at the launch of the free medical outreach for warring indigenes of Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh, who had been involved in an age-long crisis, the Commander reiterated the zero tolerance of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to the crimes.
Welcoming participants to the 2019 Exercise Operation Crocodile Smile IV, Col. Orok said the “free medical outreach in Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh communities [would] address to the health challenges of the people in this are.”
“While we like to identify with the people in our areas of coverage in terms of improving their health, educational and safety environment of our people, the Brigade frowns at violent crimes such as Illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism and kidnapping being perpetrated in the region.”
“Therefore, in line with the zero tolerance of the COAS to violent crimes in the region and the resolve of the Brigade Commander, Brigadier Gen. Usman Bello, to rid the area of these crimes, we are [now] in a better position to face the task bringing the perpetrators of these crimes to justice.
“We want to use this medium to call on those behind these crimes to desist in their best interest as the Niger Delta region is no longer a safe haven to continue with these crimes.”
In his speech at the occasion, Secretary to Delta State Government (SSG) Mr Chiedu Ebie, who represented Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, commended the Nigerian Army for the kind gesture extended to the indigenes of its Area of Responsibility (AOR).
He noted that by making such a programme an annual event, the Nigerian Army has shown a humane face, responding to the plight of the people within its coverage areas by identifying their basic needs and doing all within its power to improve their wellbeing.
Mr Ebie urged the warring ethnic groups of Aladja/Ogbe-Ijoh to take advantage of the benevolence of the Nigerian Army in its free medical outreach to embrace peace and begin to live with one another as peaceful neighbours.