- We will not shield any militant, Wike assures military
Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja and Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Amidst tension in the Niger Delta over attacks on oil facilities by the new militant group, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd), monday warned that the federal government would not reward criminals with medals under the guise of seeking peace.
The presidential aide asked those involved in the renewed “acts of economic sabotage against Nigeria,’’ to retrace their steps or be ready for the consequences of such criminality, which according to him, has no basis whatsoever in the status of the region.
Addressing journalists in Abuja, Boroh said it was wrong for criminals to embark on wanton destruction of revenue-producing facilities after the federal government had already given general amnesty to militants, and was actively training those who signed up to the programme.
Boroh drew the attention of those pressing for a new amnesty for the militants that the federal government had consistently kept faith with the implementation of the amnesty it declared on June 25, 2009 and was drawing to an end with an exit strategy put in place.
According him: “There is no plan to go back on the amnesty programme of the federal government and all men of goodwill in the Niger Delta should do all they can to support President Muhammadu Buhari’s peace and development effort in the region.
“Let it be made known that no amnesty programme lasts forever and that the one in the Niger Delta cannot be elastic. The programme had a set deadline which had since expired but the president graciously extended it and put an exit strategy in place to cater for the interest of all.
“Any individual or group that engages in criminal destruction of economic facilities in the Niger Delta under the guise of militancy should understand that there are dire consequences for such acts and that the law enforcements agents will not fold their hands and watch them do so.’’
Meanwhile, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, yesterday declared that his administration would not shield anybody from military operations against militants sabotaging the nation’s economy.
He said the state would rather assist the military fish out those blowing up oil pipelines in the state.
Wike spoke yesterday at the Government House, Port Harcourt when he granted audience to the country’s Military High Command led by the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin.
The Chief of Defence Staff was accompanied by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt General Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas; and the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar.
Wike stated that all Niger Delta governors oppose the use of violence to settle grievances, pointing out that the governors were billed to meet with the Vice President on June 7 to discuss and proffer solutions to the security situation in the region. “What’s happening affects our state revenue. We shall help the military to fish out militants blowing up oil pipelines in the region,” he said.
The governor said the state government was worried about the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta as it negatively affects development in the area. He said: “As a government, we cannot support economic sabotage. What is going on is economic sabotage. Production is being negatively affected, with the revenue of states dwindling.
“There are ways to channel grievances and it is wrong to do what will negatively affect the people of the region.”
Earlier, the Chief of Defence Staff, General Olonisakin, said the recent resurgence of militancy in the Niger-Delta was of serious concern to the military.
“Recent activities of the militants have led to the sabotage of oil and gas infrastructure,” he said.
He said the economy of the nation was threatened by the resurgent militancy, hence the need to stop the insecurity in the region.
Olonisakin urged the Rivers State governor to reach out to his colleagues in the Niger Delta to resolve the conflicts in the area.
He said the military high command was in the region to interface with the leadership of the Operation Pulo Shield and other service commanders on how to put an end to criminality in the region and protect the nation’s economy from total collapse.