Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
As Nigeria grapples with the spiraling COVID-19 pandemic, the military high command said yesterday the disease had changed battle plans and the entire military operations in the North-east region and other troubled spots in the country.
This is coming as it recovered 18,000 barrels of stolen crude oil and 224,000 litres of diesel in the Niger Delta region, even as its naval component rescued a Chinese vessel, MV Hailufang II, earlier attacked and hijacked by pirates.
The Directorate of Defence Media Operations (DDMO) said the pandemic had affected battlefield operations as related to troops and the handling of captured and surrendered terrorists and bandits.
Speaking at a briefing Abuja, the Coordinator of the Directorate of Defence Media Operations, Major General John Enenche, said the military had ordered personnel protective equipment (PPE) for troops at the frontlines.
He said captured or surrendered insurgents were quarantined and given face masks while also observing social distance rules.
Enenche stated that 21 medical centres were established in military formations across the country as isolation and treatment centres, while 80 medical personnel were concentrated in Abuja and trained on COVID-19 case management and Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), who were thereafter deployed to different geo-political zones in the country, including
“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way everything will be done.
“We have ordered for PPE for troops at the frontlines,” he said.
On insurgents, he said: “The moment they are captured, they are quarantined and given face masks while observing social distancing too.
“Captured or surrendered enemies are treated in line with the Geneva Convention. COVID-19 has changed the way things are done at the frontlines and in barracks.”
On operations in the Niger Delta region under operation Delta Safe, Enenche said the Nigerian Navy ship, Delta, conducted anti-illegal bunkering/crude oil theft (COT) operations around Ugbodede, Uwakeno, Opumami and Banga communities and Escravos general area in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State.
“During the operations, the team located and dismantled illegal refining sites and a wooden boat with three coolers, 136 dugout pits, 201 surface metal storage tanks and 174 ovens laden with about 14,434 barrels of suspected stolen crude oil as well as 1,385,000 litres of product suspected to be illegally refined diesel. The storage facilities were dismantled,” he said.