Military Says It’s Mindful of Ongoing Negotiation in N’Delta, But Warns Militants

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• FG urges militants to rethink the blowing up of pipelines
Patrick Ugeh in Abuja
The Defence Headquarters has re-emphasised that military will continue to abide with the ongoing negotiation effort of the federal government with militants in order to have peaceful settlement of the Niger Delta problem.

However, while trying to achieve this feat, the military would not take kindly with any individual or group taking military’s good gesture of adherence to ceasefire and peaceful disposition to the impasse for granted, otherwise military will respond proportionately to any armed attacks against its location in a decisive but professional manner in line with its constitutional mandate of defending innocent citizens as well as national critical infrastructure.

The Acting Director, Defence Information, Brigadier General Rabe Abubakar, noted in a statement: “It is also instructive to state that the Armed Forces has the capacity to defend itself just as it did recently when a group of misguided elements under the militancy guise attacked its location at Efut Esighi waterfront in Bakassi Local Government Area of Cross River State where they paid dearly for their evil act.

The Armed Forces therefore warns various belligerent groups in either the Niger Delta or any other part of the nation to desist from any act capable of jeopardising peace and security of our country or they will regret the consequences of their evil action.
The Armed Forces of Nigeria would continue to partner with peace-minded groups and stakeholders to bring lasting peace in any security threatened areas or locations

In a related development, the federal government, yesterday also sent a strong warning to the militants in the Niger Delta, asking them to rethink their destruction of oil and gas pipelines as they and the people of the region stand to lose more ultimately when an alternative source of fuel, the jathropha plant, is fully developed.

Speaking at a two-day environmental dialogue in Abuja, the Minister of Environment, Mrs. Amina Mohammed, warned that besides the loss of revenue to the Niger Delta through the blowing up of pipelines, the environmental impact is such that it would affect the people of the area for a very long time.

She said the Niger Delta people stood to bear the brunt of the drop in fiscal allocations from the federation account when bio-fuels from the jathropha plant and other sources knock crude oil out as the number one income earner for the government.
The dialogue chaired by Dr. Newton Jibuno, had the theme, “Diversification of the Economy: The Role of Jathropha”.

Said the minister concerning the cleanup of Ogoni, which she said, should apply to the entire Niger Delta: “Everyday our young people decide that the way to dialogue is to blow up another pipeline. This really just cancels the future. It makes life more difficult for us and the rest of the country, including themselves, because the pollution is not in Abuja; it’s not in Gombe; it’s not in Enugu; it’s in the Niger Delta.

“And who is going to invest there when we diversify the economy and find life after oil? Now oil may be in crisis, but tomorrow we hope it may just be a component of our revenue base, because we’re going to diversify the economy. So, I feel really that every young person should find what is good in their environment, protect it and carry it forward.”
Mohammed further advised the militants: “If there are injustices, there are representatives that you elected; you have to start engaging with them so that they can demand of the executive to make life better for you.”

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, pledged to provide the needed legislative framework to aid the transition into a cleaner and greener economy through support for the Nigerian bio-fuel policy.
Represented by Senator Oluremi Tinubu, Saraki said: “The present economic outlook calls for extraordinary thinking and solutions. If you ask me, I believe that these challenges may in fact be the necessary catalyst and opportunity to think outside the box and shape a new Nigerian nation.”