Posted by By Kingsley Omonobi on
CHIEF of Defence Staff, General Owoye Azazi, declared yesterday that Nigerians should not expect the armed forces to go to the Niger Delta and wipe out everybody there simply because some few militants and criminals were holding the nation to ransom.
ABUJA — CHIEF of Defence Staff, General Owoye Azazi, declared yesterday that Nigerians should not expect the armed forces to go to the Niger Delta and wipe out everybody there simply because some few militants and criminals were holding the nation to ransom. But he said the military were on top of the situation of the crisis there.
He told reporters ahead of the maiden celebration of the Armed Forces Day in Abuja that it was wrong for anyone to insinuate that the military were either incapable of stamping out the disturbances in the Niger Delta or that they were simply afraid of militants there.
"I will like Nigerians to disabuse their minds over the conclusion that the armed forces are inefficient or that we cannot perform with regards to containing the activities of militants and unrest in the Niger Delta," he said.
"Let me emphasize that anytime we release a soldier or military man to conduct an operation in our own environment, we are addressing certain groups of people gathered in the midst of everybody and this majority are law-abiding citizens.
"Because of this majority, you don’t carry out full military operations because of the collateral damage that you will cause in that environment for the nation during such operations in your own country. This is a very big constraint.
"So Nigerians should not expect that the military will go to the Niger Delta area and wipe out everybody that is there. I can assure you that government would not even allow it, not to talk of the rest of the world," he said.
On the situation in Port Harcourt, Azazi said contrary to insinuations, soldiers deployed to restore peace and order in the volatile city were on top of the situation in the area.
"Let me emphasize that the situation in Port Harcourt is quite under control. Let me emphasize that any time you refer soldiers to conduct an operation in your own environment, you are addressing certain group of people including law-abiding citizens," he said.
Present at the briefing were the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ganiyu Adekeye; his Air Force counterpart, Air Marshal Paul Dike; and Principal Staff Officers of DHQ, Army, Navy and Air Force Headquarters.
Rivers govt to help repair bombed mega filling station
Meanwhile, the Rivers State government is to provide 50 percent of the total cost of rehabilitating the damaged NNPC mega filling station in Port Harcourt, according toGovernor Celestine Omehia.
He told the management team of NNPC Retail Station led by the General Manager, Chief Faithful Abiyesuku, in Port Harcourt that the NNPC should sevolve measures to guide against adulterated petroleum products. He said although NNPC might not be directly involved in product adulteration, whatever happened to consumers of the product was likely to be traced to the company, citing the case of the recent kerosine explosions in Rivers State as an example.
"To save NNPC from negative image, I will suggest that you set up a committee to effectively monitor the distribution of the products," Omehia said.
Pledging that the state government would support such a committee to succeed, particularly in the prosecution of those arrested for petroleum products adulteration, Governor Omehia requested NNPC to give an additional mega station to Port Harcourt in view of its population, volume of vehicular traffic, and because the state is the highest producer of oil and gas in the country.
He described the destruction of the station as unfortunate especially when the people of the Niger Delta are agitating for lack of Federal Government’s facilities.
"It is very unfortunate that our youths are complaining of neglect by the federal presence in the Niger Delta, yet what was given to us was destroyed by insensitive youths," Omehia said.
Earlier, General Manager, NNPC Mega Retail Station, Chief Abiyesuku, appealed for government’s assistance in the rehabilitation of the mega station destroyed during the recent cult clashes in the state.
Commending the governor for restoring peace to the state, Chief Abiyesuku said of the 37 mega stations for construction in the 36 states of the federation including Abuja, only 21 had been commissioned.