Ijaw National Council Warns FG, Condemns Proliferation Of Adhoc Groups

 

militant, NPDC, Delta, Pipelines, Crisis, Negotiation
The council says there are too many parties jostling to be part of the negotiation talks with FG

At least 32 groups have emerged and are scrambling to be part of negotiations with the Federal Government over the Niger Delta crisis.

This was according to the President of the Ijaw National Council, Charles Harry, who mentioned this during a meeting of the council with journalists in Port Harcourt, the Rivers state capital.

The Ijaw leader who described it as inimical to the interest of the region, called on the federal government to avoid ad-hoc arrangements which is believed to only produce temporary relief.

Ceasefire Agreements

There have been several attacks on oil facilities in the region, leading to a drop in oil output of the nation that relies largely on crude oil sales for revenue.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.

Recently, it said it has agreed to a ceasefire and was ready for negotiation with the Federal Government.

Ijaw national council, adhoc groupsThe Ijaw council however opined that the recent bombings in the Niger Delta even in the face of ceasefire agreements, are also an expression of grievances.

This according to them is over what they believe is the “persecution of the Former President, Jonathan, by prosecuting his wife Patience Jonathan”.

‘Don’t touch Mrs Jonathan’

The Niger Delta Avengers had threatened to initiate more attacks if Mrs Jonathan is arrested, suggesting that the EFCC should begin with the “prosecution of past first ladies”.

One of the groups, Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) headed by Udengs Eradiri said “Mrs Jonathan should not have to answer any questions from the EFCC as she got her wealth through gratification and ‘thank you’ gifts from those who seek her help”.

Mr Eradiri also made reference to the funds allegedly recovered from ex-Governor of Bayelsa State, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha.

He alleged that “Bayelsa state money is in their coffers” saying such monies ought to be put back into the state for its well-being.

The Avengers appear to have split into several groups, making the task of securing proper negotiations with the actual group seem a bit daunting for the government.

However, with the military’s initiation of Operation Delta Safe and Exercise Crocodile Smile, there are hopes that there will soon be an end to the attacks on oil installations.

 

Niger Delta Ceasefire: Military Warns It Will Respond To Any Attack On Its Location

Crocodile-smileThe Defence Headquarters has warned militants in Nigeria’s Niger Delta region against attacking its location in the area even as they adhere to ceasefire while the militants negotiate with the Federal Government.

The military re-emphasised that it would 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.

In a statement by the spokesman for the Defence Headquarters, Rabe Abubakar, the military warned that while trying to end the crisis in the oil-rich region, it 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 the 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 statement read.

The military further emphasised that it had 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 also warned 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 Nigeria or “they will regret the consequences of their evil action”.

It reassured Nigerians that it would continue to partner with peace-minded groups and stakeholders to bring lasting peace in any security threatened areas or locations.

The military had launched Operation Delta Safe and Exercise Crocodile Smile in the region to contain the activities of militants that resurfaced over a year ago.

There have been several attacks on oil facilities in the region, leading to a drop in oil output of the nation that relies largely on crude oil sales for revenue.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.

Recently, it said it has agreed to a ceasefire and was ready for negotiation with the Federal Government.

But weeks after the ceasefire was declared, the group attacked another oil facility, saying it was carried out in protest of military harassment of youths in the region.

Police Assure Rivers’ Creek Residents of Increased Security

Police, RiversThe Nigeria Police Force has assured residents of riverine communities in Rivers State that it is collaborating with other security agencies to improve security in the area.

The Assistant Inspector General (AIG) of Police in Zone 6, Mr Abubakar Marafa, gave the assurance on Wednesday while addressing reporters in the state.

The AIG is on a two day tour of the area.

According to him, the security situation at the riverine communities of the South-south will continue to improve, with the cooperation of other agencies.

Creeks in Nigeria’s riverine communities are volatile due to activities of oil thieves and militants.

Militants activities have resurged in the Niger Delta region in the last few months with several attacks on oil facilities in the region that holds the nation’s wealth.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks that have depleted the nation’s revenue from crude oil sales.

To address the crisis that has contributed to the nation’s slide into recession, several military operations have been launched.

Operation Delta Safe and Exercise Crocodile Smile are two military operations launched to quell the activities of the militants.

Despite these efforts, the Niger Delta Avengers attacked a pipeline last week.

The attack came weeks after it said it has agreed to a ceasefire and was ready to negotiate with the Nigerian government.

After the latest attack, the group said it carried out the attack in protest of what it called harassment of youths of the region.

On the welfare of police officer, the AIG also said all hands are on deck to improve the well-being of police officers.

“The living condition and welfare of an average police officer in Nigeria is of concern to the Inspector General Police,” he stressed.

 

Army Ends ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile’ Training In Bayelsa

Crocodile-smileThe Nigerian Army training exercise code named ‘Exercise Crocodile Smile’ has officially ended at Brass in Bayelsa State.

The exercise was launched nearly two weeks ago, with the responsibility of traversing the South-South geo-political region.

It was set up to also provide a practical training for Special Forces and other units of the Nigerian Army in Amphibious and Internal Security Operations in riverine environment

Troops were also mandated to provide adequate security for residents as well as critical national economic assets in the region.

Largely Successful Exercise

The exercise, which the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, described as largely successful also enabled the Nigerian military to offer educational materials to some primary schools in Brass Town.

The soldiers have had to survive in this riverine environment which for many of them was their first time in such a place.

They are in a celebratory mode, as they await the official pronouncements signalling the end of “Exercise Crocodile Smile” which was also meant to check criminal activities like kidnapping, militancy, piracy and other forms crime.

It offered the soldiers a first-hand knowledge of the Niger Delta terrain.

Addressing the soldiers, the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Defence expressed the government’s appreciation over the commitment to duty shown by the officers during the few days training exercise.

He assured them that the dependants of the four soldiers, who lost their lives in the course of the exercise, would be adequately catered for by the Nigerian Army.

At least two soldiers were reported to have drowned when their boat capsized during a patrol along the Brass Water Front in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

Some others soldiers were rescued while service rifles belonging to the drowned soldiers were missing.

Channels Television gathered that the incident which occurred at about 10:00a.m. local time, has created panic among the newly deployed soldiers.

Motivated by the commendation of the Defence Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, the soldiers chanted their duty creed.

On his part, the Chief of Army Staff, also told the gathering that the exercise was not just meant for training purposes but also to demonstrate the capability and expertise of the soldiers in protecting their immediate environment and country against criminals.

The August visitors to the “Exercise Crocodile Smile” operational centre in Brass Town also empowered their host community by distributing books to various primary schools in the community.

U.S. Officials Meet With Stakeholders In Niger Delta To Resolve Crisis

Niger Delta, US GovernmentOfficials of the American Embassy, led by the Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr David Young, are in Delta State in Nigeria’s south-south for an all-embracing dialogue involving all stakeholders in the Niger Delta region.

At a meeting with the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, held in Asaba, the capital of the State, Mr Young said that their visit was part of measures toward finding lasting solutions to the crisis in the region which had crippled oil production.

Addressing reporters after the visit to the Delta State government, Mr Young said that the U.S. government believed that dialogue was very important in resolving grievances and there is a need to encourage Nigerians to exploit mechanisms for dialogue in moving forward.

The Governor of Delta State suggested the creation of an environment that would foster peace and tranquility, adding that the state government have also made efforts to forestall peace in the delta region.


The Niger Delta region encompasses about 8% of Nigeria’s landmass and with oil drilling in the region, the nation’s economy was stimulated.

Numerous multinational corporations also established oil operations in the region with very high stakes.

The activities of the oil companies have caused several environmental and economic issues in the region, leading to militancy in the past.

In recent times, there has been a resurgence of militant activities in the region with new groups taking up arms and attacking oil installations in the region.

A militant group known as Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for the recent attacks on oil-producing facilities causing the shutdown of oil terminals and a fall in Nigeria’s oil production to its lowest level.

Army Arrests Impersonators, Suspected Cultists In Imo State

Army Impersonators In Imo arrestedThe Nigerian Army says it has arrested three army impostors in Imo State in southeast Nigeria.

The impersonators were nabbed by officials of the 34 Artillery Brigade of the Army in Obinze, during the precursor operations nicknamed “exercise crocodile smile”.

Parading the suspects at the Army Headquarters in Owerri, the Assistant Director, Public Relations of the Brigade, Lieutenant Haruna Tagwai, said the suspects had been parading themselves as military personnel using fake identity cards and some military kits to perpetrate criminal acts within Owerri metropolis and its environs.

Suspected Cultists arrested in Imo
Suspected cultists arrested by the army

He added that another four-man gang suspected to be members of a deadly cult group in Ohaji/ Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State were also arrested during the operation.

Lieutenant Tagwai said that the suspects would be handed over to the Imo State Police Command, for further investigation and prosecution.

Burutai Asks Niger Delta Militants To Speak With One Voice

Army, Tukur Buratai, Niger Delta MilitantsThe Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Burutai, has asked militants in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria to speak with one voice, if they expect to be taken seriously.

The Army Chief made the call on Monday on the side-line of a closed door meeting with security heads including the police, Department of State Services and representatives of oil companies in south-south Nigeria.

He told journalists in Rivers State that the proliferation of groups, who claim to be Niger Delta militants, do not come across as a genuine move for peace.

General Burutai stated that the “Exercise Crocodile Smile” should not be mistaken for an invasion in the region.

However, he maintained that the army would not hesitate to clamp down on any action that threatens the peace of the Niger Delta.

The call is coming barely two weeks after the Nigerian Army formally launched the new military exercise in the Niger Delta region.

The exercise has a mandate to provide adequate security for residents as well as critical national economic assets in the region.

General Buratai, who flagged-off the exercise in Sapele, Delta State, had urged military personnel to respect the rights of law abiding citizens in their areas of operation whom he said were critical to the success of the exercise.

Soldiers Boat Mishap: Two Bodies Recovered, Two Rescued

soldiers die in boat mishap in Bayelsa StateThe Military Operation code named” Operation Crocodile Smile” which is yet to be commissioned in Bayelsa State has suffered a major loss following a boat mishap along the Brass Water Front in Brass Local Government Area of Bayelsa.

Two soldiers are reported to have drowned after their boat capsized on Monday while some others were rescued.

Also missing are service rifles belonging to the drowned soldiers.

Channels Television gathered that the incident which occurred at about 10:00a.m. local time, has created panic among the newly deployed soldiers.

‘Conveying A New Batch Of Soldiers’

An indigene of the community who pleaded anonymity said that attempts by community youths and other soldiers to assist in a rescue operation failed due to high tides.

He said: “In recent times, we have been noticing increased movement of soldiers in our area. The boat that capsized was conveying a new batch of soldiers to the waterfront. I was going to dispose refuse at the waterfront and I saw uniformed soldiers struggling to rescue their colleagues in a capsized boat.”

“When the confusion subsided, four soldiers were found to be missing with their rifles and other military gear. Some others that were rescued had their rifle missing and struggling out of the water. ”

Even though the help of local divers and youths were sought to assist in the search for the missing soldiers, the high tide of the water impeded the search.‎

‎The State Chairman of the Maritime Union, Comrade Lloyd Sese, who also confirmed the incident, said the union had received the report on the boat accident but do not have details on the numbers of casualty.

‎The authorities of the Joint Military Taskforce known as “Operation Delta Safe”, which has its operational headquarters in Yenagoa the capital of Bayelsa State, is yet to comment on the incident.

The Nigerian Army established the new military exercise in the Niger Delta on August 27.

It has a mandate to provide adequate security for residents as well as critical national economic assets in the region.

Militants’ activities have increased in the last few months in the region where Nigeria’s crude oil wealth is, with several attacks on oil installations in the area.

These activities have forced output to drop by 700,000 barrels per day (bpd) to 1.56 million bpd.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the attacks.

It said few weeks ago that it has agreed to a ceasefire and was ready for negotiation with the Federal Government.

Nigerian Army Launches ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ In Niger Delta

Tukur-Buratai-Chief-of-Army-Staff-Lieutenant-GeneralThe Nigerian Army has formally launched a new military exercise in the Niger Delta code named “Exercise Crocodile Smile”.

It has a mandate to provide adequate security for residents as well as critical national economic assets in the region.

The Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai, flagged-off the exercise on Saturday in Sapele, Delta State.

Addressing the troops, he urged them to respect the rights of law abiding citizens in their areas of operation whom he said were critical to the success of the exercise.

“We are in Warri to flag-off this exercise in order to get our troops prepared for any eventuality .

“We need to keep our country safe. We need to get our economy going without any interruption,” he said.

Increase In Militant Activities

The Chief of Army Staff and his entourage had earlier in separate courtesy visits to the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and the Olu of Warri, Godfrey Ikenwoli Emiko, briefed them on the exercise.

After the meeting with the Governor, Lieutenant General Buratai expressed hopes that at the end of the exercise that security would be achieved in the south-south region.

“We hope that the economy will come up again and the facilities and the infrastructures in terms of the oil and gas will be protected and the people around will go about their  normal  businesses without fear of any attack.

“We hope that this will other investors to come around and that those companies that have already declared force majeure,” he told reporters.

The decision to set up the force in the Niger Delta region is not unconnected with  recent increase in militant activities, with a wave of attacks on oil installations.

A group that calls itself the Niger Delta Avengers has claimed responsibility for most of the recent attacks that has forced some oil companies to declare force majeure.

The group has, however, said it has agreed to a ceasefire and was open for negotiation with the Federal Government.

It is the second operation in the region after the Operation Delta Safe was set up to also quell the resurgence of militancy.