The Nigerian military has warned the various militant groups in the Niger Delta region against hiding under regional agitation to commit all manners of crimes and atrocities.
The Defence Headquarters gave the caution on Tuesday in a statement to alert the general public of the disturbing spate of crimes allegedly committed by the groups.
They pointed out the latest of the groups, the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), claimed responsibility for blowing up an oil pipeline belonging to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation few days ago in south-south Nigeria.
The same group, according to the military, has come out again, demanding that residents living near oil and gas infrastructure should vacate their homes to avoid being caught in its next attacks.
Olive Branch To Broker Peace
The Defence Headquarters stated in clear terms, “that no group or individual has the right to threaten or force residents in any part of Nigeria, to abandon their homes in obeisance to certain group’s selfish and devilish interest.
“It is more worrisome that despite the Federal Government’s olive branch to broker peace and proffer solution to the lingering Niger Delta problem, some groups are still fanning the ember of war.
“The military and other security agencies would remain focused, un-intimidated and will display professionalism in ensuring adequate security to lives and property”.
Enhancing Civil-Military Relationship
While the military respects the government’s negotiation with relevant stakeholders in the Niger Delta, they explained that their exercise and operations in the area were not targeted at any group or meant to make life difficult for the inhabitants.
“The ongoing exercise is geared towards enhancing civil-military relationship and building the confidence of the resident on the ability of the military to protect them.
“The exercise also demonstrates the strength of the troops to purge the region of criminals and economic saboteurs.
“The Armed Forces would not tolerate any form of criminality in that region,” the statement read.
The military and other security agencies also reaffirmed their total commitment to ensuring security of lives and property, not only in the Niger Delta, but across Nigeria.
They solicited the cooperation of all the stakeholders, including the royal fathers, leaders and youths to achieve the feat.
The Defence Headquarters also urged the public, especially those residing in Niger Delta, to discountenance the threat, asking innocent citizens and residents to go about their legitimate businesses.