• We’ll rout you, says CDS
From Tony John, Port Harcourt
The Nigerian Military has vowed to deal with the security threat in the country, particularly, Boko Haram in the North and militancy in the Niger Delta region.
Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin declared this yesterday when he commissioned 12 refurbished military gunboats in Okrika, near Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
Olonisakin, who was accompanied by all the nation’s service chiefs, warned that ‘the military will not fold hands and watch some individuals sabotage the economy of the country’. He described security challenges in the country and the Niger Delta region as ‘multi-facet.’
Fielding questions from newsmen on the activities of a new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the CDS declared they would go after them.
“We cannot allow people to sabotage and destroy critical infrastructure. We will go after them and ensure that we deal with the situation appropriately. Issues of this nature is multi-faceted; not just the military approach. Government is exploring all other approaches to ensure that these issues are resolved. Military is looking at ways to resolve the issue of bombings.
“We, the military, have told NDA this is not in the interest of the nation. When you bomb those facilities, those critical infrastructure, you are destroying our assets, our resources as a nation. This is not the way to address your grievances. If you have any grievances, you put them appropriately to the government,” Olonishakin said.
The CDS expressed appreciation to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) for providing resources to repair the gunboats.
Also, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, said the gunboats would boost the capacity of the troops to fight sea piracy, militancy, oil theft and growing insecurity in the Niger Delta
“We know the challenges are quite enormous. Continued support like this and procuring new equipment will further boost our operational capabilities. The terrain here (in the Niger Delta) is a peculiar one.
“It has continued to pose serious challenge to our operations. In order to effectively discharge our constitutional responsibility, our troops require to operate in the riverine areas of the Niger Delta, thereby, necessitating some boats and water crafts…” said Buratai.
“One of the greatest challenges we are facing as armed forces today, is the dearth of serviceable platforms and related equipment. In these trying times of dwindling national resources, there is no better alternative to maintaining whatever equipment that is available to us.
“There is no gainsaying the fact that a force is as strong as the quality of its equipment, without which our troops would not have the requisite capability to function efficiently”.
He expressed confidence that the gunboats would enhance the operational capabilities of the 2 Brigade and by extension, the Operation Pulo Shield.