President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Government of the United Kingdom, UK, has expressed concerns over the use of military to forcefully stop the aggrieved Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, from further destruction of oil installations and pipelines.
British Foreign Minister, Philip Hammond, while speaking in Abuja, warned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government against using the Army to fight militancy in the Niger Delta region.
Hammond’s call is coming on the heels of resurgence in the activities of militants in the Niger Delta region.
Most prominent in militancy for now is a group calling itself Niger Delta Avengers.
The militant group had issued a two week ultimatum to oil firms to vacate the region, because they wanted a greater share of oil revenues and an end to oil pollution.
The group has refused to give up the destruction despite calls for calm by the government.
Recently, President Buhari ordered the military to crack down on a new militant group, which has been attacking oil installations.
The Minister in a reaction to the Nigeria Government resolve to the use of force through the use of army to address the grievance in the Niger Delta region,noted that the situation could end up in disaster.
Hammond submitted ; “It’s obviously a major concern. The idea that your answer is by moving big chunks of the Nigerian Army to the Delta simply doesn’t work, “It won’t deal with the underlying issues.”
“Buhari has got to show as a president from the north that he is not ignoring the Delta, that he is engaging with the challenges in the Delta.”
Meanwhile, about 30 combat ready troops reportedly stormed Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu kingdom and hometown of wanted ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, at the wee hours of Sunday in search of the militants.
A military source reportedly said they were in Oporoza to warn the community, because they had credible information that bombing of pipelines was being planned in the area.
“The next time there is a bombing, we’ll treat everyone in the community as militant,” said a military source.
However, the Nigerian Army said on Monday, it had arrested members of a militant group which has claimed responsibility for a wave of attacks on pipelines in the restive Delta region.
The detainees are suspected members of the NDA, a movement blamed for assaults on oil infrastructure that have helped cut Nigeria’s output to 1.65 million barrels a day from 2.2 million at the start of the year.