The Nigerian Army has urged emerging militant groups in the Niger Delta region to shun activities detrimental to the nation’s economy and embrace peace.
Major General Jamil Sarham, the General Officer Commanding, GOC, 6 Division, Nigerian Army, made the call at the inauguration of Operation Delta Safe, OPDS, Sector 4 Component Commander’s transit accommodation in Calabar, the Cross River State, capital city, southern Nigeria.
Major General Sarham, who also commissioned a detention centre at the base located within the Eburutu Military Cantonment in Calabar, noted “I am aware that other militant groups have taken over the creeks and posing serious threat to law abiding Nigerians, who ply the waterways”.
“I want to assure you that these groups of militants may not be as lucky as the defunct Bakassi Strike Force, BSF, that has embraced peace”, he cautioned.
The GOC commended OPDS Sector 4 for the feats achieved despite challenges associated with riverine operations.
“It was as a result of Sector 4’s concerted kinetic and non-kinetic operations that compelled the Bakassi Strike Force and Boki Youths for Development and Selfless Leaders to seek for amnesty,” stated the Major General.
Sarham lauded the Sector for effectively collaborating with other security agencies to achieve its mandate, which is “to protect oil and gas infrastructure; deter militancy, sea piracy and robbery, crude oil theft and other forms of criminality within the joint operation areas”.
On the transit accommodation for Component Commanders, the GOC said that such provisions were in tandem with the Chief of Army Staff’s vision “to have a professionally responsive Nigerian Army in the discharge of its constitutional roles. Making the welfare needs of our personnel a priority is a force enabler towards operational proficiency.”
In an earlier remark, Colonel Bende Amakor, the Chief Host and Commander Operation Delta Safe Sector 4, stated that on assumption of office, the sector adopted an aggressive approach against militancy.
Colonel Amakor stated “not long, in one operation we recovered 12 AK 47 and 27 boxes of 12.7mm ammunitions amongst other assorted weapons and ammunition. This eventually led to the successful disarmament of the Bakassi Strike Force.”
He further stated that the sector successfully disarmed 500 members of the Boki Youths Support for Development and Selfless Leaders, BYSDS, “a notorious militant/cultists group that operated in the Boki Local Government Area”.
Since the Sector 4 area of operation extends to neighbouring Akwa Ibom State, he hinted “we disarmed militia groups in Ukanafun, Ika and Etim Ekpo Local Government Areas between August and October 2018. Also, during operation SAFE CONDUCT 2019, we supported 2 and 13 brigades leading to a successful and violent free general elections in Cross River and Akwa Ibom States.”
During the operation, he disclosed that 8 INEC officials and 2 ad hoc staff, who got lost in Bakassi waters while trying to escape from militants were rescued.
The Sector 4 Commander attributed the successes achieved to the doggedness of his officers, commanders and men as well as the support and cooperation from other security agencies including the Chief of Army Staff.
Highlight of the ceremony were the presentation of awards to distinguished personnel including a member of the National Youth Service Corps, who produced the architectural designs for the buildings.