JTF: We ‘ll Crush Niger Delta Militants Only When Absolutely Necessary


Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

The Joint Task Force in the Niger Delta, Operation Delta Safe, on Wednesday disclosed that it had the capacity to crush militants currently destroying oil and gas facilities in the region when given the go-ahead by the political leadership in the country.

However, the newly revamped security outfit comprising the army, navy, air force, police and other security agencies in Nigeria, noted that it would continue to exercise restraint to avoid “collateral damage”, during major military operations against the restive youths.

Rear Admiral Joseph Okojie, the new Commander of the outfit covering Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa as well as parts of Ondo and Akwa Ibom states, described the crisis in the region as a 5th generation security threat, but stressed that Nigerians would soon begin to see results from the efforts by the forces to tackle the violent agitators.
Okojie, who spoke with journalists in Yenagoa, Bayelsa state, where the JTF, ODS is headquartered, assured that the military has total control of the security infrastructure in the country, but added that the military remains subservient to the political leadership of the country.

He noted that the federal government, the minister of defence, the chief of defence staff and all the service chiefs were fully involved in the current operations to rout all criminalities in the oil-rich region.

“ The ODS will not shirk its responsibility in ensuring of the Niger Delta. We will ensure that there is sanctity of our territorial integrity,but we have to make sure that collateral damage is minimised.

“We are on top of the security manifestations and at the appropriate time, if necessary, action will be taken to ensure there is peace.

“ If there is need to up the tempo, we will do it, but for now (our operations) are driven by the political imperatives of our leaders. The political leadership has come out with clear instructions while we also carry out our core duty”, he said.

Flanked by his lieutenants in charge of land operations, maritime and civil military operations, Rear Admiral Okojie explained that in the last few weeks, his men have successfully foiled cases of pipelines vandalism, kidnapping, illegal oil refining, sea piracy and other criminalities in the region.