THUR, 18 AUGUST 2016-The Nigerian army will soon be launching a major heavy military exercise in the creeks of the Niger Delta and its commanders are reaching out to community leaders in the areas where the exercise will be conducted to help calm nerves.
Past exercises were viewed with scepticism and criticised as ‘bloody intimidation’ by the military because rigours such as current efforts to get the peoples’ understanding for such drills never took place.
The drill comes amidst constant threats to oil facilities in the region by various Niger Delta oil thieves posing as militant groups including the most notorious Niger Delta Avengers, severally described as a bunch of disgruntled oil rogues.
Their nefarious activities in recent times saw Nigeria’s oil production level drop well below 2 million barrels per day, major gas facilities denied without gas supply and electricity companies left with only miserable explanation to customers as why they have to endure a nationwide blackout since the beginning of the year.
The military drill command leadership are currently in Delta State, Nigeria were they Thursday, met with the State governor Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa who encouraged the military to carry out enlightenment campaigns before embarking on their activities to prepare the civilian populace for their activities.
The General Officer Commanding (G.O.C.) 2nd Division of the Nigerian Army, Ibadan, Major-General Kasimu Abdulkarim led a delegation to the State for the enlightenment campaigns.
Governor Okowa commended the Military for informing the state about their intention to carry out some exercises in the creeks, observing that such would ensure reduction in unnecessary tension as the people would know that the actions were not targeted at the civilian population.
According to the Governor, “heavy presence of military men, always send shivers into the people and make them to be cocooned in their houses and it will make them not to go to farms, market or carry out socio-economic activities, but, when they are appropriately informed that your activities will not affect their normal lives, they will be receptive and go about their duties without fear.
“I am happy that the public is being informed about the operation you intend to carry out, the people will be calm and cooperate with you when they know that your actions will not be harmful to them,” he said, adding, “this prior information will make them realize that the operation is not going to affect the civilian population.”
While commending the military and other security agencies in the state for what they were doing to ensure a peaceful environment for socio-economic life of the people to thrive, Governor Okowa promised that his administration would always work towards favourable environment especially, for investments to thrive.
“Delta State is a very warm and friendly state and it is our hope that we will continue to work together to have that peaceful environment which will ensure development,” the governor said.
Earlier, Major-General Abdulkarim had told the governor that he was on tour of states the 2 Division of Nigerian Army covers which includes Delta, Edo, Oyo, Ekiti and parts of Niger States, disclosing that the “Nigerian Army is to have a training exercise which is amphibious in nature within the state.”
“We are here to provide adequate security and make the environment safe for all,” the G.O.C., said.