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Navy impounds vessel with stolen crude oil in Rivers

By Kelvin Ebiri (Port Harcourt) and Abosede Musari (Abuja)   |   14 October 2016   |   4:04 am
Minister of Niger Delta of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani

Minister of Niger Delta of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani

FG plans security programme to check youths’ restiveness in N’Delta

The Nigerian Navy in Rivers State has impounded a vessel with 120,000 litres of crude oil suspected to have been stolen.

Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Admiral James Oluwole, who disclosed this yesterday, said the arrest took place at Elem Kalabari, Akuku Toru Local Council of the state.

He said: “Troops were unable to arrest crew members on board the barge as they fled the scene on sighting advancing naval gunboats.

“This strategy and other security measures recently put in place curtailed spate of attacks on oil and gas installations, piracy and other criminality in our maritime environment.”

In the same vein, Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, Commodore Kennedy Egbuchulam, said some advance surveillance and tracking systems had been positioned to ensure effective coverage of the vast creeks and waterways in the command.

In another development, Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Pastor Usani Uguru Usani, has begun a security programme to provide lasting solutions to youths’ restiveness in the region.

To this effect, he has appointed Mr. Tikari Y. Danjuma as co-ordinator of the Niger Delta riverine protection programme.

Although details were not given about the scope of the operation, a one-paragraph statement by the ministry’s director of press and public relations, Mashall Gundu, said that the appointment was with immediate effect.

Elder Timi Ogoriba, who spoke recently on the development, said a group of stakeholders was mediating between government and the militants.

“Government also has to show commitment by trying to put up a dialogue team, doing some of the things that the young men have asked for, which they are very much aware of and I believe that since the leaders have decided to come together from different ethnicities in the region, certainly we are going to have an end to the problem.

“Now that ceasefire has been declared, what we have to do next is to ensure that dialogue begins, and a meaningful one for that matter,” he said.

Ogoriba also expressed optimism that once dialogue began, and demands were met, there would be a solution in sight.

Another approach being taken by the Federal Government to stem youths’ agitations and militancy is the proposed introduction of agric clusters for youths in the region.

Co-ordinator of the amnesty programme and Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh, who told reporters that there was plan to engage 10,000 of such youths, said: “It will provide job opportunities, wealth creation and food security. The focus on agriculture does not mean we will jettison other areas of training but in view of the prevailing economic situation, it’s better we go for agriculture as an alternative.”

Boroh said they would be trained in batches in different locations, and that they would be exposed to scientific methods of agriculture.

Besides, he said agriculture would be used as a tool to drag resurgent militants out of the creeks to revamp the economy.

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