In light of renewed threats by the Niger Delta Avengers to resume attacks on oil installations, Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, said Monday that the Nigerian Navy had reinforced security measures to counter “militant insurgency”.
Ibas, who spoke after inspecting facilities at the Naval Engineering College, Sapele, Delta state, reassured multinational oil companies that despite the recent threat by Avengers, the navy would protect their staff and oil facilities in the region.
He said, “Nigerian Navy has implemented various security measures to curb militant insurgency, sea pirates, kidnapping and illegal oil bunkering in the region. For sea fearers who use the sea, Navy is ready to protect seafarers who are on legitimate businesses.”
The vice admiral added that the navy had deployed its men at strategic locations to ensure that the waterways were safe for International oil Companies to carry out their legitimate duties in the Niger Delta region.
The navy boss also urged the public not to panic because of the threat by militants, insisting that the navy had the capacity to counter any threat. ‘‘We will work in collaboration with other sister security agencies to fight against pipeline vandalism, illegal oil bunkering and sea-piracy as well as protection of the international territorial waterways”, he said.
Meanwhile, Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, sent a passionate appeal to Avengers not to attack oil facilities in the state.
Okowa made the appeal in a statement issued on Monday in Asaba by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, in which he noted that the people of the state and the region would lose more if the group carried out its threat.
“We passionately appeal to the Niger Delta Avengers not to resume hostilities, because Deltans will be the greatest losers. We are barely recovering from the effect of previous attacks and it is our honest appeal that they still give peace a chance by allowing for peaceful engagements with the Federal Government and other stakeholders.
“This appeal for peace remains imperative, because without the atmosphere of peace, no meaningful negotiations and development can take place, he said, adding “resumption of hostilities will not be in the interest of our people but a major setback to the plans and aspirations of the state.
“We have continued to appreciate our brothers in the struggle for their continued patience and cooperation while we engage the Federal Government on ways to attend to the various issues being raised by the group.
“As a state, we have made several interventions to make life more meaningful for oil bearing communities especially in the area of road construction in the creeks and without the enabling peace we cannot progress in that direction”, the statement read.
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