The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Gen. Gabriel Olonisakin, the service chiefs from the Nigerian Navy (NN) and the Nigerian Army (NA), Vice Adm. Ibok Ette-Ibas and Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, respectively, made the declaration of war at different military functions in Lagos.
The CDS, who was the guest of honour at the navy’s 60th diamond anniversary in Lagos, said the military would continue its onslaught against militants’ activities in the Niger Delta region and insurgency in the Northeast.
But about a fortnight after it was inaugurated by the Delta State Governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa to move into the creeks and halt the increasing spate of pipeline bombings through advocacy, the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Oil Facility Vandalism, headed by the Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro, has warned that the military option would not solve the problem but instead would compound it.
The committee also urged former militant leaders, Chief Government Ekpemukpolo and Chief Ayiri Emami to sheathe their swords and allow peace to reign.
Ayiri had accused Tompolo of being behind the bombing of critical pipelines in Gbaramatu Kingdom linking him to the Niger Delta Avengers but Tompolo fired back denying any link with the Avengers and urged government to investigate those lobbying to repair damaged pipelines.
Olonisakin who spoke at the end of the two-day maritime conference organised by the navy to mark its anniversary, said the military had stepped up its fight against the militants in the Niger Delta because of the recent attacks on the nation’s infrastructure.
He warned those involved in the attacks on oil facilities to desist from any act of sabotage or would be made to face the wrath of the law when arrested. Olonisakin, while reviewing the role of the military in recent times said the navy had performed creditably in securing the nation’s territorial waters in its 60 years of existence.
Also speaking at the conference, the CNS, Vice Admiral Ibas, said the navy had been able to reduce robbery and piracy on the nation’s waterways, adding that they were expanding the technical aspect of their surveillance to ensure that they curtail the menace.
Addressing the issue of militancy, he said: “We are doing the very best we can to get them even before they venture out into the creeks.
“We have made some inroads by ensuring that we are at least out there at sea when you consider that we have over 3000 creeks, rivers and actuaries and the navy has over the last 10 years been building its capacity to operate in the backwaters.”