The federal government yesterday asked the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to embrace dialogue rather than inflict socio-economic pains on the country and her people.
Also, the federal government lamented the spate of attacks on strategic oil infrastructure in the Niger Delta, which it said, had put the Nigerian economy in dire situation.
Chairman of the Forum of Federal and State Security Administrators, Mr. Aminu Nebagu, stated this at the third quarter meeting of the forum held in Lagos yesterday.
The forum, which comprises all states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory (FCT), is coordinated by the office the Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF) to analyse security situation and share intelligence quarterly.
The forum’s third-quarter meeting was attended by the state governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello and Solicitor-General of the Federation; Mr. Taiwo Abidogun among others.
Nebagu, who is the Permanent Secretary of Special Services in the Office of the SGF, warned against attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta, lamenting the grave impact of such attacks on the country’s oil earnings and power generation.
He said the federal government “is working hard to put an end to this trend. I, therefore, call on those involved to lay down their arms and embrace dialogue for government to achieve lasting peace and sustainable development in the country.”
He said the recent phase of bombing oil facilities in the Niger Delta “has put Nigerian economy in a dire situation. It is a fact that crude oil accounts for 70 per cent of total revenue and 90 per cent of foreign exchange. As a result of the attacks, oil production has dropped to 1.4 million barrels per day against 2.5 million barrels per day.”
He added that another critical area affected by pipeline vandalism “is shortfall in power supply. Currently, power generation is about 2,800 megawatts against 5,074 megawatts in February 2016.
“As a result, small and medium businesses are facing tough time, even many of them are closing down their operation and disengaging their employees, compounding unemployment situation in the country. This is not good for security situation.”
In his remark, Ambode emphasised the need for collaboration, effective intelligence gathering and information sharing among security agencies in the country.
He called on various security agencies in the country “to strengthen their intelligence gathering technique, collaborate and share relevant security information among themselves to make them more effective in combating crime.”
Ambode, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Oluranti Adebule, said effective collaboration among security operatives and strategic intelligence gathering technique “is crucial to achieving success in combating security challenges facing the country.”
He urged the security agencies to work together in unity and share security information “to help them provide security environment that would make our country safe and attract foreign investors. Various security challenges in the country will soon be a forgotten issue with effective collaboration.”
He noted that security administrators across the country “have major role to play in translating government policies on security to impact on the lives of the people as well as enhance the economic viability of the country to attract foreign investment.”
Also speaking at the forum, Bello explained the essence of the meeting, which he said, was to reaffirm government’s commitment to the issue of security of lives and property as amplified in section 14 (2b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Bello said various security challenges in the country called for a concerted efforts and collaboration among various security agencies across the country for effective operation, disclosing that the Lagos State Government had initiated some security policies which he said helped to reduce crime in the state despite its huge population.