Chiemelie Ezeobi in Lagos
The military wednesday declared war on the menace of militancy in the Niger Delta, just as the Nigerian Army said it had procured six communication vehicles for the proscription of the war against insurgency in the North-east.
The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin, Chief of Navy Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette-Ibas and Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, respectively, made this disclosure 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 militancy in the Niger Delta and insurgency in the North-east.
At the end of the two-day maritime conference organised by the navy to mark its anniversary, Olonisakin said the military had stepped up its game against the militants in the Niger Delta because of the recent attacks on the nation’s infrastructure.
Warning those involved in the attacks on oil facilities to desist from any form 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.
He also promised that the armed forces would continue to work together to keep the nation’s maritime environment safe from any form of criminality.
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 are 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 it’s capacity to operate in the backwaters.
“What we have for now might not be adequate but we are expanding the technical aspects our surveillance to ensure that we adequately contain the menace.”
Meanwhile, the army yesterday inaugurated six communication vehicles procured by its Signal Corps, for onward deployment to the North-east to help in the proscription of war against insurgency.
The COAS, was in Lagos to inaugurate some buildings and address the troops as part of his first official visit to the 81 Division of the army and was hosted by the General Officer Commanding of the division, Major General Isidore Edet.
He said: “We are still pursuing the terrorists and we will continue to do that. The situation is so far so good as the troops are doing very well.
“We are fighting the insurgents in the north east. We are also handling the criminal element in the Niger Delta and also the criminal elements that are around the herdsmen saga.
“We will continue to operate the way we have been doing. This is a military strategy and it is an operational issue which we may not divulge to you how we are doing that.”
Meanwhile, the police yesterday revealed that intelligence reports available to the force have shown that the award of surveillance contracts to non-indigenes by oil companies was partly responsible for the renewed Niger Delta crisis.