By Jude Zoho
The Defence Headquarters says the proliferation of militant groups in the Niger Delta has become worrisome especially as such groups hide under the cover of regional agitation to commit crime.
This is contained in a statement issued on Tuesday by the Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Rabe Abubakar.
He said the most recent activities of the latest group Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM) was condemnable and would not be condoned by the military and other security agencies.
According to him, more worrisome is the fact that Federal Government’s olive branch to broker peace and profer solution to the Niger Delta problem have been ignored by some groups.
“The DHQ wishes to express worry about the disturbing spate proliferation of militant groups in the Niger Delta with each of them hiding under regional agitation to commit all manners of crimes and atrocities.
“The latest being the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM) that claimed responsibility for blowing up NNPC oil pipeline few days ago.
“The same group has come out again, demanding residents living near oil and gas infrastructure to vacate their homes to avoid being caught in its next attacks.
“The Defence Headquarters wishes to state, 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.’’
He said the military and other security agencies would remain focused, un-intimidated and would display professionalism in ensuring adequate security to lives and property.
He said while the Armed Forces acknowledged government’s negotiation with relevant stakeholders in the region, its exercise in the area was not targeted at any group or meant intimidate the inhabitants.
He clarified that the ongoing exercise was geared towards enhancing civil-military relations and build the confidence of the resident on the ability of the military to protect them.
Abubakar added that the exercise also demonstrated the strength of the troops to purge the region of criminals and economic saboteurs.
He however warned that the Armed Forces would not tolerate any form of criminality in that region.
Abubakar solicited the cooperation of all the stakeholders, including the royal fathers, leaders and youths to for the exercise.
He urged those residing in the Niger Delta to discountenance threats by militant groups in the region.