Governors of the six states in the South-south geo-political zone will assist the authorities in unraveling masterminds of renewed pipeline bombings in the Niger Delta region, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, declared Monday.
Wike also assured that no militant sabotaging the nation’s economy would be shielded by the governors from the military operations in the Niger Delta.
Lamenting the negative impact of pipeline bombings on the economy especially as it affects crude oil revenue, the Rivers governor said his colleagues in the South-south were strongly opposed to the use of violence to settle grievances.
Towards this end, he said the governors will be meeting with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on June 7 to fashion out modalities on containing the emerging security situation in the oil-rich region.
The Niger Delta Avengers, a new militant group, has claimed responsibility for the destruction of oil and gas pipelines in the region, vowing to continue its campaign of violence until Nigeria, an oil-dependent country, is brought to its knees.
Speaking yesterday at the Government House, Port Harcourt when he received Nigeria’s military high command, led by Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, Gov. Wike stressed that South-south governors cannot fold their arms and watch oil production threatened by militants in light of dwindling revenue by states.
The Rivers governor said: “What is happening affects our state revenue. We shall help the military to fish out militants blowing up oil pipelines in the region.
“As a government, we cannot support economic sabotage. What is going on is economic sabotage. Production is being negatively affected, with the revenue of states dwindling.
“There are ways to channel grievances and it is wrong to do what will negatively affect the people of the region”.
Wike also stated that the Rivers government was concerned about the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta, stressing that it had been negatively affecting development in the crude oil and gas-rich region.
While applauding the military officers for the sacrifice they had been making in providing security for most parts of Rivers state, the governor charged them to redouble their efforts in Ahoada East, Ahoada West, Abua/Odual and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Areas of the state.
In his response, Gen. Olonisakin admitted that the military was having sleepless nights over the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta, pointing out that “Recent activities of the militants have led to the sabotage of oil and gas infrastructure”.
The CDS also stated that the country’s economy was being threatened by the resurgent militancy, hence the need to put a stop to the insecurity in the Niger Delta region.
The Defence chief also urged Wike to reach out to his colleagues in the Niger Delta to resolve the conflicts in the region.
Gen. Olonisakin said the top military officers were in the Niger Delta to interface with the leadership of the military joint task force in the region code named ‘Operation Pulo Shield’ and other service commanders, on how to put an end to criminality in the region and protect the nation’s economy from total collapse.
Our correspondent reports that Gen. Olonisakin was accompanied on the visit to the Rivers Government House by Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar. There were many GOCs, FOCs and AOCs, that accompanied them.