The Nigerian Army has said it would attack the Niger Delta Avengers if government’s effort to dialogue with the group and other militant groups fails.
Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-General Tukur Buratai declared this yesterday at the inauguration of newly built ultra-modern 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army headquarters complex and an Olympic-size swimming pool in Port Harcourt.
Buratai urged militant groups in the Niger Delta region to explore democratic means to make their needs known rather than resorting to violence.
“Government is still committed to dialogue, and whereby this cannot go on, then, we could resort to other means.
“The non-kinetic (force) means has always been the first before government can resort to the kinetic means.
“So, there is need for the Niger Delta Avengers to see reason and dialogue with government,” he said.
Buratai, who was represented by Major-General Ibrahim Attahiru, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 82 Division, Enugu, said the military would provide security for July 30 legislative rerun election, if need be.
He said the Army was faced with shortage of accommodation, offices and other infrastructure needed for optimal performance by troops.
The Chief of Army Staff informed current intervention effort in renovating dilapidated structures and building new ones, despite challenges of dwindling national resources.
“The newly built RSM accommodation quarters and brigade administrative headquarters will provide a conducive atmosphere for higher productivity by officers and soldiers.
“Also, the Olympic size swimming pool will avail troops opportunity to continue to train and prepare for amphibious operation in our maritime environment,” he said.
Buratai commended Brig.-Gen. Stevenson Olabanji, immediate past Commander of 2 Brigade Port Harcourt, for seeing to the completion of the projects in a period of six months.
Earlier, Brig-Gen Stevenson Olabanji, Commander, 3 Brigade, Kano, said he embarked on the projects with focus to improve command and control operations of the brigade.
“On assumption of office, I thought it wise to build a structure that would accommodate all the staff branches and sub-units of the brigade.
“Similarly, the Olympic size swimming pool came about as a result of death of some soldiers because of their inability to swim.
“The swimming pool will enhance troops confidence and increase chances of survival in emergency situation during the conduct of operations on waterways and creeks,” he said.
Meanwhile, Asawana Deadly Force of Niger Delta (ADFND), the militant group which earlier gave a two-week ultimatum to the Federal Government to grant the Niger Delta region an autonomous sovereignty or risk the bombings of the Niger Bridge, Lagos Main Land Bridge, Forcados Terminal, among other important places, yesterday, said issued the Federal Government the “last warning” to do what it demanded or it would carry out the attack without further notice.
In a statement by the leader, Commander Olomubini Kakarakokoro, a.k.a No Mercy, ADFND said: “The Federal Government should not take us for granted any more. Our patience is running out and we have decided to let the world know our grievances and pains again. We are sounding this as a last warning before the whirlwind gets down. The tsunami that would descend in coming days will be severe for the current government to handle.”
“We bet you, the government will not be able to handle what would happen in the Niger Delta in the days ahead. The operations that would follow our plans are strategic and all operations will be codified as our goals have been codified in a one line mission statement. Our mission is simple; give us our rightful dues as producers of Nigeria oil wealth – that is our sovereign state.
“The Federal Government cannot continue to give us crumbs. We own the oil and will no longer accept outsider’s controlling the oil blocs that are in our land. Alternatively, we want 60 percent of our oil blocs because we own the resources that sustain the country.
“When it gets down they would say the opposition is behind it, but we don’t care. All over the world, militia groups emerge for a reason and we have made our reasons clear and vivid. We would not give you the peace you want to continue the exploitation of our people. Again, we want to see proactive government action on major federal government projects in the Niger Delta, like the multi-billion dollar Export Processing Zone (EPZ) and the already approved Federal University of Maritime in Okenrenkoko, Delta state.
“For us, this is not about Jonathan, Tompolo and other persons they are pointing fingers at as masterminds of this well planned attacks. This is about us – the unemployed people of Niger Delta. This is about our mothers and children who are being ripped off. And some have said why now; it is simple. There is time for everything. This is the time for change and we want the change in the Niger Delta, now!”
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