…As N/Delta youths warn govt preparing ground for invasion of region
26 July 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – As Nigeria’s oil production and revenue continues to decline due to the destruction of oil and gas facilities by militants in the Niger Delta, the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has said the Nigerian Army would resort to force as an option if the dialogue between the Federal Government and militants fail.
A statement from the Army Headquarters obtained by our correspondent noted that Buratai made this remark on Monday at the commissioning of a modern 2 Brigade headquarter complex with an Olympic size swimming pool, in Port Harcourt, River State.
The Army chief appealed to the Niger Delta militants to embrace democratic means in their demands and desist from engaging in violence.
Buratai added that it was necessary for the militant groups to take advantage of the government’s readiness to engage them in a dialogue.
“Government is still committed to dialogue and whereby this cannot go on – then there could be resort to other means. The non-kinetic (force) means has always been the source first before government can recourse to the kinetic means.
“So, there is need for the Niger Delta Avengers to see reason and dialogue with government,” the Chief of Army Staff insisted.
He also pointed out that the military was ready to provide its services for the legislative rerun in Rivers State if it was called upon to do so.
He lamented the shortage of accommodation, offices and other facilities needed for optimal performance by troops.
According to him, “The newly built RSM accommodation quarters and brigade administrative headquarters will provide a conducive atmosphere for higher productivity by officers and soldiers.
Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide, yesterday accused the federal government of negotiating with the wrong set of agitators so as to find a reason to attack the region.
According to the influential youth organisation, the game plan of the federal government was to open negotiations with mere jobbers and online agitators and then turn around to blame Niger Delta youths of rejecting the government’s peace plan.
It noted that because the federal government is talking to the wrong set of people, the current bombing and destruction of critical oil and gas infrastructure in the region would continue, invariably leading to the invasion of the Niger Delta.
Spokesman of the IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, insisted that there was no real negotiation going on, and accused government of gross insincerity in ending the crisis in the oil-area.
He added that there was a deliberate scheme to decimate the people of the region and blame the youths and elders for provoking the government.
“There is no negotiation going on. The government is only preparing the grounds for a military attack. Who exactly are they negotiating with?
“They are negotiating with the wrong people while the blowing up of pipelines continue. They want to deliberately do it so that they will have a reason to attack innocent communities and villages in the region.
“Government is not sincere. Let them tell people the militants they are discussing with. And by the way, the federal government should be talking to the leaders of the region in order to achieve peace.
“Former president Obasanjo discussed with people, Yar’Adua did the same thing. The Avengers are saying that they are not in talks with the government. There’s just no sincerity with this government,” he said.
The group added that with the way the government was handling the current crisis in the region, the solution to the gamut of problems in the region was still far off.
“Very soon they (government) will start attacking and killing innocent people because they can’t even locate the real people. The IYC is saying that the government is not negotiating. It’s a game plan.
“The government of Buhari (President) is not interested in resolving the Niger Delta crisis. We will continue to appeal to the people bombing pipelines to stop, but the government has a responsibility to address the current restiveness,” the IYC noted.
The group insisted that the current government does not see the Niger Delta region as part of Nigeria, arguing that President Buhari has not shown commitment to solving the problems in the region.