He said that several bomb-related items were recovered from the vandals who bombed the Escravos facility and assured that the joint military force would not be deterred by the activities of criminals.
“Those behind this heinous act of bombing of critical installations in the region are warned to have a rethink and toe the line of peace by adopting a legitimate means to address their grievances instead of taking the law into their hands,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ijaw youths yesterday demanded the immediate release of their kinsmen apprehended by the military who are currently carrying out an operation to fish out militants, sea pirates and pipeline vandals in the region.
While condemning the alleged fresh invasion of their communities, the youths said the return of the military to the area underscored the federal government’s insincerity in dealing with the resurgence of militancy in the region.
The youths listed the persons arrested in the latest raid as: Eddy Ikpidi; Tekena Uka; Dboy Oboko; Jamaica Oboko; Coasta Kelly Tortor; and Atani Yawuru.
Security operatives had arrested three more persons in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State and four other persons at Tebijoh community in the same council on Wednesday, a development the youths said was a breach of the agreement to retreat from the communities.
The youths under the aegis of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), worldwide, noted that arresting “innocent persons” at a time the federal government should be laying the framework for dialogue with the Niger Delta people smacked of unreliability on the part of government.
In a statement by its Spokesman, Mr. Eric Omare, yesterday, the youths maintained that the federal government could not in one breath declare a ceasefire and at the same time forcefully invade Ijaw communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta State under the guise of searching for militants.
“In the early hours of yesterday, military men invaded Tebujor community in Gbaramatu Clan with sporadic gun shots from both sides of the community and arrested six youths of the Community, namely: Eddy Ikpidi, Tekena Uka, Dboy Oboko, Jamaica Oboko, Coasta Kelly Tortor and Atani Yawuru on the basis that they are suspected pipeline vandals.
“While we do not support sabotage of oil facilities considering the negative effects on our environment; the IYC seriously frowns and condemns the continuous invasion and harassments of Ijaw communities and innocent people by the military under the guise of looking for pipeline vandals,” the IYC noted.
The youths maintained that the events of the last few days had shown that the Nigerian military lacked strong intelligence gathering techniques.
“The military has no reason to embark on continuous invasion of Ijaw communities and arrest our people in the name of looking for Avengers or pipeline vandals. Our communities and people are peaceful and law abiding people.
“The continuous invasion of Ijaw communities is a demonstration of lack of sincerity on the part of the federal government to genuinely dialogue with the people of the Niger Delta region to address the renewed militancy and issues affecting the region,” the group stressed.
According to the youths, no meaningful dialogue can take place without sincerity of purpose and confidence in the process by the people of the Niger Delta region.
“We call on the military to carry out deep intelligence gathering and stop the unlawful arrest and invasion of Ijaw communities. The arrested youths of Tebujor community, Gbaramatu Clan, Delta State should be released,” the IYC stated.