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Military vows to crush Niger Delta militants

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Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin

Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin

• War not a solution to pipeline vandalism, says committee
• Panel urges Tompolo, Ayiri to end feud

Ootraged at the increasing threat that militants in the Niger Delta posed to the economy, the Nigerian Military declared war on them yesterday.

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, the service chiefs from the Nigerian Navy (NN) and the Nigerian Army (NA), Vice Adm. Ibok Ette-Ibas and Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, respectively, made the declaration of war at different military functions in Lagos.

The CDS, who was the guest of honour at the navy’s 60th diamond anniversary in Lagos, said the military would continue its onslaught against militants’ activities in the Niger Delta region and insurgency in the Northeast.

But about a fortnight after it was inaugurated by the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa to move into the creeks and halt the increasing spate of pipeline bombings through advocacy, the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Oil Facility Vandalism, headed by the Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro, has warned that the military option would not solve the problem but instead would compound it.

The committee also urged former militant leaders, Chief Government Ekpemukpolo and Chief Ayiri Emami to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign.

Ayiri had accused Tompolo of being behind the bombing of critical pipelines in Gbaramatu Kingdom linking him to the Niger Delta Avengers but Tompolo fired back denying any link with the Avengers and urged government to investigate those lobbying to repair damaged pipelines.

Olonisakin who spoke at the end of the two-day maritime conference organised by the navy to mark its anniversary, said the military had stepped up its fight against the militants in the Niger Delta because of the recent attacks on the nation’s infrastructure.

He warned those involved in the attacks on oil facilities to desist from any act of sabotage or would be made to face the wrath of the law when arrested.

Olonisakin, while reviewing the role of the military in recent times said the navy had performed creditably in securing the nation’s territorial waters in its 60 years of existence.

Also speaking at the conference, the CNS, Vice Admiral Ibas, said the navy had been able to reduce robbery and piracy on the nation’s waterways, adding that they were expanding the technical aspect of their surveillance to ensure that they curtail the menace.

Addressing the issue of militancy, he said: “We are doing the very best we can to get them even before they venture out into the creeks.

“We have made some inroads by ensuring that we are at least out there at sea when you consider that we have over 3000 creeks, rivers and actuaries and the navy has over the last 10 years been building its capacity to operate in the backwaters.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has also procured six communication vehicles for the prosecution of the war against insurgency in the Northeast. The army yesterday inaugurated six-sophisticated communication vehicles procured by its Signal Corps, for onward deployment in the northeast to help in the prosecution of war against insurgency.

The Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Oil Facility Vandalism, which met with several Ijaw and Itsekiri traditional rulers including the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli and the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, His Highness Oboro Gbaraun II, told the communities that the continued bombing of critical oil facilities was inimical to the national and state economies.

“With the increased spate of oil facility bombings leading to drop in production quantum, it is doubtful if the expectations of the budget can be fulfilled,” the deputy governor said.

In their separate comments, the committee members and others equally noted the anger in the communities that may have been partly caused by government and oil companies neglect resulting in underdevelopment.

There was agreement too, that military invasion would not help resolve the issue.

And worried about the renewed militancy, Bayelsa State Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, on Tuesday in Yenagoa, called for concerted efforts to check it, describing the perpetrators as criminals and economic saboteurs. Already, the attacks on the nation’s oil facilities have reduced oil production to an all-time low.

Dickson, who met with representatives of International Oil Companies, (IOCS) and security chiefs to proffer solutions to the recent upsurge in criminal activities in region, decried the killings of security personnel, innocent citizens and the vandalism of oil installations by the Niger Delta Avengers.

Reiterating his administration’s commitment to the protection of lives and property, the governor said that the recent development was affecting the socio-economic growth of not only the state, but the entire region. “The way forward is for all stakeholders to discuss the issues and the need for the Federal Government to tread with caution and not adopt a military approach as a means to solving the problem.

No one person can protect the assets in the remote areas of the region. I, therefore, call on those involved in this act of criminality and brigandage to stop forthwith.”

Also speaking the State Deputy Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukah, noted that the meeting had resolved to engage various communities in the region in a dialogue in order to put an end to the recent upsurge in criminal activities.

Representative of the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture, Monday Ovuedu, Group Executive Director, Media, Government and Public Affairs, Mr. Sola Omole and Head of Legal Services, Conoil Plc, Michael Madugbe agreed that oil companies operating in the region would collaborate with the government at sustaining peace in the region.

They pointed out that, the sustained engagement strategy, with sincerity of purpose and for all the stakeholders to work together for the collective interest of all was what the parley was all about.

Militants had in the last couple of weeks, stepped up attacks on petroleum products pipeline across the Niger Delta, with the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu, declaring that the bombings had reduced Nigeria’s crude oil export by 800,000 barrels per day, from about 2.2 million barrels to 1.4 million barrels per day.


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26 Comments
  • Eben Dokubo

    HOW OPACITY FUELS PUGNACITY IN NIGERIA’S NIGER DELTA

    By Eben Dokubo

    NOBODY knows how much oil Nigeria produces because the International Oil Companies, IOCs, ensure that meters at the export terminals are non-functional. This may sound incredible, but it is true.

    The Federal Government receives crumbs after IOCs have deducted their expenses at source. The so-called 13% is arrived at after all sorts of spurious unilateral charges and deductions have been applied.

    A system that thrives on opacity rather than transparency is bound to be a hotbed of pugnacity. With the blatant injustice, economic ruin, and environmental devastation, the Federal Government’s approach of intimidation, divide-and-rule, military bravado, and political destabilization cannot solve the question of agitation in the Niger Delta.

    Every month, Commissioners of Finance from all 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory gather in Abuja and share funds that have accrued to the Federal Government. Thereafter, the Minister of Finance announces how much was received by each state.

    At the distribution of FAAC every month, the Honourable Minister of Finance MUST PUBLISH THE SOURCES AND AMOUNTS THAT MAKE UP THE PURSE BEING SHARED.

    It is only then that Nigerians will commence the journey on the road to justice and equity. It is then that Nigerians will realize that there is more to the Niger Delta than Amnesty, MEND, VOLUNTEERS, EGBESU, AVENGERS, and many more mutations of the same agitation.

    • Ojiyovwi

      You are being very silly. No where in the world is the exchequer required to publish revenue and expenditure for all except those with nothing to do with their lives. You appear to be in mischief because you just want to say something in the hope of wrestling some social relevance. I am sure if you approached the finance ministries, you will be able to read and UNDERSTAND the published accounts.
      You moan because no one from the ministry of finance has come to you personally to give you your personal share of the allocated state revenue.
      If you wish to help our people, create jobs and encourage enterprises however small – even selling orange juice by the roadside to passing traffic is preferable to the constant sniping for the sake of saying something. Encourage our political leadership to help the people as best as they must.
      You’ll only loose your voice from ineffective and incessant crying of foul.

      • The Trib3sman

        you are rude and uncouth!

        • Ojiyovwi

          So you can’t see the merit in anyone objecting to your pointless destruction of our environment. Very poor intellect in my humble opinion.

      • Kalu_J_Okafor

        Yours is the voice of an Oluwole feeding fat on other region’s resources. How could a lazy loafer talk of creating jobs and encouraging enterprise? Tell us how much you have done same for your people. All oil companies should move their headquarters to where they get the resources. By so doing, jobs that are supposed to be created in that region but taken away to far away cities could help absorb the agitators. Other economic and social benefits will be felt by the goose that lays the golden egg but not respected.

      • AriseNigeria

        You reasoned and spoke as a fool, you came to type and not to make sense

        • Ojiyovwi

          Yes, I don’t see the sense in the destruction of crude or petrol pipelines when the result is a devastation of our environment and scant little concern to the welfare of our people who have to live in these areas. Are you a Deltan? If so, how do you justify damaging our homeland? You appear to excrete in your own home because you couldn’t be bothered to build a toilet. Don’t be surprised of the community health problems coming your way.

    • Mystic mallam

      I up-vote you for the last part of your last sentence : there is more to the Niger Delta than amnesty, Mend, Volunteers, Avengers, Egbesu and many more mutations of the same agitation. The federal authorities know that but lack the courage to admit it. You cannot resolve generational injustice with the crumbs of amnesty or the jackboot of mindless force. Admitting the truth and restoring justice are the only viable guarantees to make the Niger Delta calm, and finally set Nigeria free.

      • Anny

        Now they said they will crush……… One will think that it should be turn by turn. Why have they not first crushed boko boys then the Fulani herders that kill thousands all for nothing before talking about honest agitations? Mind you these are fellow citizens with relations – so you who love to crush think.

  • Osanebi Osakuni

    All these military threats will only compound issues. The people of Niger Delta are angry, even when elders openly condemn the destruction of oil infrastructures their cautious responses to military intervention instead of dealing with the real issues tells their hearts. Nigerians will wake up to hear the news of another pipeline blowup very soon. No one can protect inflammable substances in such difficult terrain, the officers have nothing to lose in admitting the obvious.

    • salele

      ” The people of Niger Delta are angry, even when elders openly condemn
      the destruction of oil infrastructures their cautious responses to
      military intervention instead of dealing with the real issues tells
      their hearts” What do you expect when they are also being held hostage by the militants. Even if they wanted, they cannot stop the militants because the militants have grown in power through the use of arms. Unless we want to keep going in circles about this issue, there should be some military element added to it.

  • Babalakin

    it sad but it is good for us so we can solve the militancy problem once and for all. a military only solution is not the best option. the president should play all the cards to solve the problem

  • Mystic mallam

    Shame on those reintroducing this CRUSH mentality into the Nigerian political psyche. If Presidents Yar’Adua and Jonathan achieved nothing in governance, at least they were able to de-emphasise the crush crush proclivities of power in this country. It is only non thinking, non rational bush animals [not civilised men and women] that seek to settle every dispute by the urge to use arms, to conquer and annihilate. In the society of men, ‘to jaw jaw is still better than to war war’, a lesson of history that Nigeria’s politicians have refused to learn.

    • salele

      When the people you are supposed to jaw jaw with have vowed to cripple you, what do you do?

      • Mystic mallam

        Thanks Mr Salele for a good question. That’s what good leadership is really about — making people to see things your way, persuading them to abandon their ”evil” ways without resort to huge, costly and often counter-productive coercive investments .

        • salele

          “Good leadership” came and gave them amnesty ( with resultant goodies), another “good leadership” came and gave them fantastic security contracts (with resultant huge goodies), they are not satisfied. With all honesty, Mystic mallam, do you think they will ever be satisfied? Especially when you have new ones coming up everyday?

          • Mystic mallam

            That’s the point Mr Salele, you have hit the nail on its head. You will never satisfy them with those patronising gestures, they are simply tangential to the real issues involved in the Niger Delta, of which I have said time without number that, they are generational in nature and you can’t solve generational questions with time-framed tokenism. believe me, I know.

  • Marcus Ijele

    Why not take your crushing ability to Maiduguri? You are at your comfort zone threatening those who had done nothing o you and your President’s pett foot Sodiers are taking more villages in the North East. Weldone Sir

  • The Trib3sman

    Go and attack the Niger Delta and get avengers! Incompetent dullards!

    • salele

      you are rude and uncouth!

  • KennBest

    Smoke the bastards out of their holes and shoot them into oblivion. Enough of the nonsense. No more useless amnesty.

  • Sosoliso.

    it’s unfortunate that the people of the niger delta have allowed sentiments and ignorance to cloud their sense of reasoning. they are unaware of who their real enemies are.

    we have had more than 16 years under democratic government, permit me to say that a 16 year old child is more sensible about what is happening around than the people of niger delta.

    they have never one day held their politicians whom they have elected over the years to account for the millions that have been appropriated for the development of the region. 13% derivation fund for oil producing states, NDDC, amnesty programme and the ministry of niger delta. the irony of it all and the most painful is that their very own was a vice president and president for 8 years.

    these people have had colossal opportunities to make the region Dubai of Africa. but the reverse is the case. a generation of those who started by first kidnapping the expatriates in the region have made fortunes and participated in the humungous corruption that made the reign of their own unpopular, have given way for a new generation of militants, called niger delta avengers.

    when you fail to identify the real issues and problems mitigating against your well being, you have become an enemy to yourself. the people of niger delta of which am a part, have become enemies to themselves. it is no longer a question of who’s at the top, but peaceful Nigeria. if you will set your house on fire for the government to listen to your, then you need to be evaluated. there’s a fundamental issue with the people of niger delta and it has got nothing to do with the oil in the region or a northern president. lets look inward, because we are our problem

    • Kalu_J_Okafor

      Leave their resources in their control so that those to bear the blame of recklessness and waste of the region’s resources will be narrowed down. What are you returning to Niger Delta that can equal what was invested in Lagos and Abuja by the federal government from oil funds and the share of criminally bloated number of local governments in most states? Why is it difficult to give them more control of oil that comes from the region? Do they control resources from other regions?

  • Dave

    At its core, the main problem of militancy in the Niger Delta stems from – (a) the unimaginable wealth militants have been able to acquire as a result of their threat to the oil companies and successive governments; and (b) the lack of deterrent to continuing the acts of brigandage. There has been so many reconciliatory moves made to militants by successive governments, ranging from cash payouts (or settlement in Nigerian parlance) to amnesty to employment as pipeline security consultants. But it is obvious that none of these palliatives would put a permanent end to militancy and vandalism.
    Unfortunately, and glaringly, none of the solutions offered or provided by governments seem to have touched the lives of the average Niger Deltan over the past 15 to 20 years of militancy in that regions.
    Meaning that, the primary goal of the militants is not the comfort or improvement of the lot of Niger Deltans in general, but to reap the spoils of vandalism.
    The Federal government therefore has 2 options – continue to be subjected to blackmail and settlement of militants (which by the way sends the message of acquiescence to encourage more would be militants), or deal decisively with militancy for what they are – vandals and destroyers of the national economy.

    • Kalu_J_Okafor

      State control of resources will help solve the problem. You cannot be robbing Peter to pay Paul. States should be allowed to grow with what they have and at their own pace. Healthy competition will evolve with resultant prudence in governance.

  • Dave

    Dear Kalu J Okafor – There are two immediate problems with your proposals. (i) The Nigerian constitution currently does not vest the power of asset control on states (which although I think is wrong, is not likely to be altered any time soon); and (2) Nigerian state governments have a notorious history of mismanagement; and could not be trusted any more than the federal government. In fact, state governments would be far worse, going by the experience Nigerians have been having in the hands of Local Governments.
    The point is that agitation, well founded and based on real, genuine marginalization is required and necessary for equity in any society. However, the sincerity of most Niger Delta agitators like – MEND, Avenge etc is seriously questionable. How many infrastructural development can be directly traced to the efforts of these groups?
    Rather than vandalising and destroying government assets, these groups should strongly demand their elected representatives at the senate and house to design and enumerate the required human development goals for the region and chart a critical path towards achieving them. They could legitimately challenge any sitting government to itemize specific physical and infrastructure developmental requirements within the region and insist on their completion / delivery.