Posted by: Mike Odiegwu
The Defence Headquarters believes that the threats from some youth groups including ex-militants enjoying the Amnesty Programme of the Federal Government cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand.
Of particular concern to the military are increasing economic sabotage, kidnapping, piracy and other forms of criminality in the region despite the ongoing amnesty.
The Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Alex Badeh, said on a visit to Bayelsa State at the weekend that the armed forces would deal decisively with any security breach in any part of the country.
He warned war mongers and perpetrators of criminality to desist or be ready for the consequences of their actions.
Badeh was in the state to inaugurate the permanent complex of the Headquarters of the Joint Task Military Force, Operation Pulo Shield in Yenagoa, the state capital.
He wondered why oil theft, kidnapping and other criminal activities should be on the rise in the region despite the peace agreement reached with former militants.
He said: “Criminalities in the Niger Delta, we thought, had stopped, but now they are on the rise again. But I know that our gallant men and women are equal to the task.
“We are after the bad men; we are good men and darkness can never overtake light. No nation can develop in the presence of so much criminality.
“Now we are hearing that people are taking up arms here and there; kidnapping is on the rise, oil theft is on the rise, going by the last seizure of a ship loaded with 15,000 metric tons of illegal properties.
“The military was here before and we reached a simple agreement to down tools to work together for the benefit of our nation. We want to tell the criminals that they should not allow us to turn our guns back on the Niger Delta. Please, do not let the Armed Force turn its arsenal on the Niger Delta.”
The CDS urged youths in the region to operate within the ambit of the law adding that the JTF had been empowered to combat all manner of criminalities in the region.
He commended the JTF Commander, Maj.-Gen. Emmanuel Atewe, for his foresight, saying the permanent complex would save the JTF from spending huge amounts of money on rented apartment.
In his remarks, Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Rear Admiral John Jonah (rtd.) extolled the effort of Atewe-led JTF in building the permanent complex with military designs and concepts.
He said that since his assumption of office as Commander of the Operation Pulo Shield some months ago, the JTF had destroyed over 1,000 illegal oil refineries, 400 boats used for illegal bunkering and 20 trucks containing illegally refined products.
Scores of suspects have also been arrested in connection with oil theft, he said.
He said the new JTF Complex occupies over eight acres of land comprising of officers’ accommodation, residential apartments for officers and men, sports and fitness centre, medical facilities and officers mess.
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