Fear of war grips Niger Delta as military deploys weapons

Nigerian troops• Troops vow to dislodge criminals
• IYC, monarch urge govt to dialogue

Apprehension, suffering and death. These are the concerns as the military begins a massive buildup against armed agitators in Nigeria’s oil rich region, the Niger Delta.
Yesterday, a long convoy of about 32 articulated vehicles was seen on the Port Harcourt-Warri dual carriage way carrying long-range tanks, armoured personnel vehicles and an assortment of weapons. The vehicles allegedly headed to military formations in Delta and Bayelsa states.

Since the military launched ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’, there has been such a movement of heavy military hardware. But it has become frequent lately.Some days ago, the Chief of Army Staff said the deployment was not meant to intimidate residents of Niger Delta but for strategic military purposes to make Nigerians feel safe in the region.

But the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) alleged that the deployment of troops and weapons in the region was an indication that the Federal Government was not interested in peace in the region and was intimidating the people.IYC spokesman, Eric Omare, said the President Muhammadu Buhari’s government had shown through the deployment that it was never interested in dialoguing with the Niger Delta stakeholders.

Also, the Pere of Seimbiri Kingdom, His Royal Majesty Ayemi Botu, said the frenzied deployment of military hardware and troops in the region showed insensitivity on the part of the Buhari government and could throw the region into chaos.

“Sequel to the acceptance of a ceasefire, courtesy of monarchs and other leaders of the Niger Delta 10 days ago by the Niger Delta Avengers and other militant groups, one would have expected President Buhari to announce his dialogue team as he did in early June, 2016 when he declared a two-week ceasefire, preceding his medical trip to the United Kingdom.

“To the contrary, he has ordered the mobilisation of troops to the Niger Delta under the pretext of military exercise code-named ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ thus sending negative signals to all Nigerians and the international community that the stage is set to crush the militants at a time they have accepted ceasefire. “We have been making frantic and passionate appeals in conjunction with the United States Consul General, Mr. John Braye, calling on both the Federal Government and the militants to sheathe their swords and embrace dialogue to proffer lasting solutions to the Niger Delta quagmire. Both the United States and the European Union have expressed their determination to partner the Federal Government in this onerous task now that the opportunity is available,” Botu said.

He implored President Buhari to withdraw the troops and follow the path of honour to set a machinery in motion without further delay to commence the dialogue.“Wise counsel suffices, but if unheeded and the military authorities go ahead to unleash their arsenal on the goose that lays the golden egg and all the strategic and volatile oil installations are affected, invariably the resultant conflagration will certainly overwhelm the entire region, Nigeria will be comatose economically,” the monarch said.

Meanwhile, the military has vowed to use proportional force to dislodge those described as criminals and groups threatening the peace and stability of the Niger Delta.As it continues its offensive against militants, the military urged law- abiding residents of the region not to panic when they see the movement of troops and heavy weapons.

The Commander, 2nd Brigade, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Brig.-Gen. Hamisu Hassan gave the advice yesterday.“The exercise ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ is part of the routine military exercise that we conduct and has been planned to take place to enhance proficiency of our personnel. Such an exercise is done in other parts of the country, in the North East and North West, and which is peculiar to the security challenges in that area.

“So, I want to assure the law-abiding citizens to remain calm as they see troop movements and equipment they have not seen before. They should go about their lawful activities without fear. Nothing will happen to any law-abiding citizen. We are here to protect them,” the commander said.

According to him, the ‘Operation Crocodile Smile’ has made tremendous achievement in the fight against pipeline vandalism, cultism, and other criminal acts in the Niger Delta.

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54 Comments
  • Basil Ogbanufe

    This is proof Nigerians are not a people, Nigeria is not a nation and Nigeria is just a project: A British colonial initiative, creation and project.

    • Apostel

      And you are the project a lunatic asylum.

      • Innocent Okezie Ugwonaruenyi

        Those who ruled the country for over 40 years without a road map. Covered no mile stone are at it again.

  • omoagbala60

    They were forewarned, no individual component of a system is greater than the whole.

    • Ayelala

      These are not freedom fighters. These are ijaw criminals. It is these same criminals that politicians with orders from above use to bunker oil in previous administrations.
      If they had kept their nonsense to their own land, nobody would have minded. But to extend such to Itshekiriland, Annang,Ogoniland is a declaration of war on the state. The others in the Nigerian delta have their grouse with the Nigerian state but they are not doing what the ijaws are doing.
      These guys do not want to die for any cause. All that these bandits are after is money

      • BayernMunich

        Blood money

    • Nairaskobos

      You think a country can thrive by deploying military hardware against its people? Your mind-set is not different from Buhari’s. It’s a question of time and Buhari’s military hardware shall point towards destroying Nigeria’s integrity, irrespective of the Janjaweed forces being deployed to the south now by Buhari people.

      Buhari is deploying the armed forces to fight dissenters who after many years of asking for political reforms, but were refused by Buhari clan, took to militancy, and some to secession.

      • Oladele

        Grow up! Millitary exercises are part of Army or armed forces daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly routine. Due to corruption these had reduced and in some cases stopped. While growing up these were constant sights around Nigeria. Besides, the Army has the duty to ensure our territorial integrity but this aspect was largely neglected in the past seven years. With new hardware arriving they need to train with them and get familiar with them. Usually in those days, the soldiers dont harass us, makes the area feel safe. Sometimes they clear hoodlums from forests and bushes so the rest of us can sleep at night and police do the rest.

  • Ikorodua

    To start a war is the easiest thing to do, however, to end it may prove something else. In this particular imminent war, can boohari tell Nigerians what the end-game would be ? I wonder !!! The whole country might be theatres of war if care is not taken.

  • OYO MEESI

    They asked for it and now they’ve got. If you want war, you get it. The Ijaws are not greater than Nigeria.

  • Emeka

    Wao, here comes the real Buhari, the warlord. If Niger Delta had helped to conclude this matter between 1967 and 1970 when the opportunity called, this rubbish would have been averted. They avoided the perceived lesser enemy and fought on the side of the real big enemy to keep Nigeria one . I have nothing further to say. This development is sad and unfortunate.

    • james_grim_teacher

      This development is welcome and fortunate. The Niger Delta is being protected from hoodlums and eco- terrorists. It is sad that you under estimate the intelligence of ND people’s.
      They saw through the Biafran slavery project planned against their people. Almost 50 years after Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom are looking far better than most other SE cities.

      The people from the SS region voted NPN in 1979 not NPP. They are more articulate of their interestservices than you realise. Buhari will create a progressive, corruption free , new political class in the Niger Delta that will achieve growth and goid HDI for the region.
      But first all corruption, cultism and decadence of the Jonathan era will be destroyed

      • duwdu

        You write well, realistically and truthfully, james_grim_teacher, well done.

        P34c3
        …..

    • Daniel Dalon

      The militants are not really fighting for anything….as a matter of fact they don’t want to fight. They just want to blackmail the government into giving them more money. The militants were foolish. Given the opportunity to negotiate they would have just asked for more money and quit blowing up the pipelines.

      The Igbos believed in Biafra and sacrificed the lives of millions to fight for it. Boko Haram believed in forcefully islamising Nigeria and sacrificed the lives of tens of thousands innocent Nigerians (not their own) because of their belief. This is a great opportunity for the Niger Delta militants to come out and fight and show the world that they believe in. If they manage to defeat the military they will be truly able to have real resource control and even invite Biafra to form a country, although they will be richer if they keep the wealth for themselves and not share it with the bigger populated Igbos.
      The way is now clear for the long-awaited great battle between the Niger Delta militants and the Nigerian military. And I wish the militants a very quick and easy victory.

  • justin lar

    . in the first place, the blowing up of oil wells and pipelines does more than deprive the federal government of vitally needed revenue especially with the fall of the price of crude oil, the long term ecological damage is incalculable. the avengers should know that long after they come to terms with the government and resolve their differences, the damage the oil spillage has caused will not vanish over night and this is the only home they have.

    • BayernMunich

      What differences do they haveq? That the clueless one was defeated?

  • james_grim_teacher

    The FG should continue this action of securing Nigeria. Long range weapons are required including air borne surveillance and accurate destruction of militant camps, kidnapper dens, cult havens and illegal refineries. The money for these operations should be charged to the 13 per cent derivation budget.

    The people of the Niger Delta will welcome these operations. Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta are now finding it difficult to pay salaries. They are kidnapping 50 people per day in PHC. All politicians encouraging these hoodlums should be sent to Gashua prisons or taken out if possible.
    If Goodluck Jonathan is found complicit, he should be arrested and we should explain to the international community what we saw and present evidence.
    Nigeria is 170 million black people, we have no more time for nonsense. Our kids must grow and thrive and must not be sacrificed because of some people’s misfortune during the last elections.
    The iron fists should descend and hurt badly, maybe then people will realise the consequences of the deadly games they started.

    • duwdu

      Very well said…, james_grim_teacher, thanks for articulating the issues so well!

      P34c3
      …..

    • Osanebi Osakuni

      Let the first bomb fly and the last oil worker flies from the production field. That ends the last 1.4M/Barral oil production. The economic recession turns to a complete stagnation. That is actually the primary aim in Niger Delta. The hunger all over Nigeria will drive sense to everyone that restructuring Nigeria is the barest minimum• Unfortunately, the dynamics of events are too complex for an illiterate to understand. The military belongs to the entire Nigeria so it is impossible for anyone to enjoy their complete loyalty to destroy any part of the country.

      • BayernMunich

        Bullshit. Why you no question your corrupt leaders first we ruin your region? Why you no ask regional politicians to govern una correctly with the 13% we dem dey pocket? If dem ask you wet in you wan restructure, you no go fit define. Dey deceive yourself there say Nigeria economy go collapse. All of uns go first quench if una no want make uns mama sleep

        • Osanebi Osakuni

          Why are you concerned by a people that want Nigeria restructured so that they can take care of themselves. The world must be laughing at your parasitic sense, think of how you provide for yourself if you have mental strength and will to stand on your own. Only a fool will be concerned that people want to feed themselves when he has no power to take care of himself. Parasitic!

    • Nairaskobos

      Crude oil patriot of one Nigeriafraud.

  • Emem Umoetuk

    Does Nigerian leaders truly think this is a conventional war with tanks? How on earth are you going to use tanks in the creeks.? These people live here, they were born and brought up here, they know the terrain. The way the oil pipes in the Niger Delta are installed, they will always be vulnerable to attacks. Instead of building up military presence to intimidate the locals, this could easily escalate to something beyond what the leaders expected. Dialogue is always the easier and best option. Those that witness the Nigerian civil war will never wish that to happen again because it will make the first war looks like a childs play.

    • Jeffery Moses

      Girlfriend! The Army isn’t going to war and I am sure no-one in their right frame of mine will want to challenge this present Army into fight. Yes Dialogue is and still the only viable means to resolve conflicts, but I don’t believe that there will be a meaning dialogue when all parties involved are looking at their strength and not the issues at hand.
      We are so very used to the “Carrot or Cane” approach. (We need to see the long wriggling “cane” to comport ourselves) I bet you; with the presence of the Military in the area, dialogue will happen sharply and swiftly! And most importantly, it will be beneficial to the region and the country at large.

      • Okpomo

        The entire west-African Army put together cannot police the network of pipelines across the Niger-Delta, and i promise you that the Nigerian Army will not go anywhere near the thick of the creeks where the boys ply their trades. All these grand-standing and show of supposed strength is just to harass innocent villagers as we have seen recently. The Avengers have declared a unilateral cease-fire, and the best way to go is for PMB to take advantage of it.

  • Jeffery Moses

    Hmmm…. Majek Fashek say …Rememeber! Remember!!! Remember!!! Marcus Garvey ……
    My remixed version be .. remember remember remember Odi and Zaki Biam …..

    Boko Haram and MEND reigned when we get Civilian Civilian Presidents, Boko Haram the most notorious don femm as power change hand. MEND don wise up! All the remain tuke tuke militia, make una remember say if hand no touch una, e fit touch people wey una relate with ooh!
    Make una go ask people for Odi and Zaki Biam their story before una dare a war tested Army General.
    “Enough is a word for the wise” (intentionally) make una no give these army boys opportunity to get excited ooh!

    That being said, I think the Army presence in the region should be seen as a measure to restore some form of sanity amongst the erring youths of the region. If e go stop them from blowing up pipe lines thereby polluting our soil and also reduce the Robbery and kidnapping spate, Oga Buhari, you and your boys are welcomed to stay as long as you want. Perhaps, development go come back.
    Make I no forget to add say, make CO’s Squad/Platoon Leaders put a leach on their subordinates to make sure that they don’t go beyond the limits of the Law.

  • Daniel Dalon

    I have done the maths for this war and it’s by far much cheaper for BUHARI to fight it than to negotiate. Negotiating with the militants has led to nowhere and it’s costing the government 20 billion Naira every day. Here are the details.

    1. The militants of recent crippled the oil output to 1.2million barrels. The installed capacity of oil is 2.5million and the militants can further cripple it to 1 million a day. This means that if care is not taken the militants will destroy up to 1.5million barrels a day. And if they have their wish the whole 2.5million will be destroyed.

    2. So I am assuming without a war the militants can destroy a million barrels which they did successfully of recent.

    3. 1million barrel a day has a current market value of $45 million a day. at a market rate of $45 per barrel.

    4. In a month, the militants are destroying $45million X 30 days, which equals $1.35 billion dollars a month.

    5. At the current rate of dollars of N425 to the dollar ( confirm this at ABOKiFX), $1.35billion = N574 billion a month

    6. It will cost the government just N20 billion naira a month in terms of salaries, overheads, equipment and compensation to families of the few hundred gallant soldiers that will be killed. ie 20,000 troops will be deployed at a total cost of N1million each – N20 billion Naira per month for 20,000 troops.

    7. So Buhari stands to make a monthly profit of N574 billion naira minus N20Billion. A massive profit of N554 billion naira per month if he wins the war.

    8. This massive savings of N554 bil per month will increase the foreign reserve, improve the naira/dollar rate, increase government revenue and help APC keep it’s so-far unfulfilled promises and improve the well being of all Nigerians. It will also assure and guarantee Buhari’s 2nd term.

    9. I have also calculated what the ND militants stand to lose. If they are defeated, they stand to lose their N66,000 naira monthly stipend (there will be no more reason to pay them), they stand to lose credibility in the eyes of the people they claim to be defending, and above all they stand to lose their lives (Buhari will not be paying 66K to dead people.).

    I prefer that there is no fight and the ND militants negotiate and keep their 66k monthly stipend, their lives and other cash that will be handed to them as a result of a successful negotiations. But should they prefer to fight, I wish the ND militants victory over the Nigerian military.

    • Savyaw

      See its not by fighting a war, where are the avengers U want to fight with, do U know a 15 year old boy can burst a pipeline, they can only catch the bunkers not the real avengers

      • algol2000

        The government is ready to reduce the oil to zero barrels per day. Your land will be completely devastated while other lands remain arable. Do not bite more than you can chew.

  • Alabasta

    That was a brilliant move. The next move is to hunt for, prosecute and jail all the rag tag vandals called the Avengers for causing so much pain in the country. No more dialogue with those who take up arms against the motherland.

    • Mosley

      My friend this struggle predates Buhari govt and will definitely outlive his govt, and the issue will shape part of the 2019 election campaign. A pacifist govt will definitely succeed Buhari’s government and issues will then be resolved amicably.

  • Apostel

    This perverted NDA idiots have called the music, now the don’t like to dance.
    Cowards, spoilsports!

  • deltavoice

    Why would anyone in his right senses reject the stationing of a police station or military barracks in his locality if he’s not a criminal?
    What are the Ijaws afraid of?
    For crying out loud, they are not the only tribe here in the Nigerdelta. The urhobos,isokos,itsekiris,kalabaris,ikwerres etc aren’t afraid of any military presence.

    • Oladele

      Ijo cupboard has skeletons that is why!

  • Marcus Ijele

    A coward always shows act of valiant when he sees who he can win. The Nigeria Military is only embarrassing itself by this cowardly acts which they may interpret to be a show of strength. Why should they move such level of war weapons to a place just to contain untrained civilians? Waste of money, waste of time. What they should know is that they can never win this war with the manner they are handling it. You are fighting people you do not see. The person drinking with you or the person waving at you and telling you welcome could be the one you are after. It is not a field war. It is a creek war. The individuals you are preparing to fight are not concentrated in one place. They are scattered and can never be captured like bees. Initiate dialogue and stop all these unnecessary risks. The war propaganda will only end up in the Military intimidating people and when they become frustrated for not capturing or seeing any Militant to shoot, they will begin to arrest indiscriminately and probably people. Let Buhari stop application of his so called Military energy against innocent people fighting for their rights and talk with them as a father will talk with his aggrieved children.

    • Optimus

      You’d rather implore the President not to react to the criminality overwhelming the region than advise the criminal elements to desist from the acts. So you think the wings of the miliitants can never be clipped? who are the aggrieved children? what are their grievances? Have they taken their grievances first to their leaders who they are more familiar with? The state governors that cannot account for the huge allocation they have received over the years. Until the so called “freedom fighters” start taking the fight to the next closest leader on their organogram, i don’t think their protest should be taken seriously. They are all criminals like they have always proved themselves to be.

    • BayernMunich

      Come on shut up.

      • Marcus Ijele

        Yeeees Sirrrrrr. Any thing for you to say again?

  • Intrepid

    Let deaf Buhari remember the American humiliation in Vietnam. If only those boys in the creek can put their acts together and produce a creek Gen. Ho Chi Mingh. The creek is their terrain and do what the Vietcong did to mighty Americans. Deaf Buhari is only going to the creeks to shed innocent blood. No one negotiates at gun point. Buhari is another calamity in the making to Nigeria.

    • BayernMunich

      You mean your deaf father

    • Oladele

      Agaracha, you don wake up? You wey no fit perform, you bin de rant!

  • otunne steve gofrey

    It is evil and shameful for anyone from Niger delta to support war on the region.
    Bullets does not know anyone and Nigerian army commanded by Islamist will never spare anyone including innocent women and children.
    Hatred to Ijaw nation should not be dragged to the detriment of the region and to support those subjugating Niger Delteans and milking them dry will only give lean edge to Ijaw haters but on the long run will futher enslave Niger Delta as a whole.
    Niger delteans need not be reminded that it was their fathers error of judgement in the sixties that made them only owners of the oil lands while oil wells belongs to Danjumas, Tukurs, Mohammeds etc, they own negative impact of oil exploration while oil proceeds developed Lagos, Abuja, Kano Kaduna and others.
    I do not support war nor damages to economic assets of the nation under any reason.
    Buhari change from dialogue to total war smacks insincere government or government of treachery.
    Domestic chicken that is rejoicing when hawk is being roasted should remember that there will always be Christmas!

    • Optimus

      I would hesitate to fault the government on this, simply because there are different factions of Niger Delta group claiming to be fighting for the rights of the region. Frankly as far as I’m concerned, none of them has proven to be genuinely have the interest of its people at the heart of the struggle Therefore, it is expected of the government to perform its responsibility of securing lives and properties. it doesn’t stop the dialogue in anyway. as long as nobody has any plans to break down public law and order, then i don’t see any reason why this should disturb the peace of any law abiding citizen.

      • otunne steve gofrey

        Watch out how Nigerian Military will deal with the region, watch out if Nigerian Military will spare anyone including children and children.
        Their history of rape and abuse of the gun is none secret. Ask older Niger delteans that supported Gowon’s army how they were treated by the same army they supported, They were first to be starved by 3 marine commando, they were first to suffer Kwasiokwor, go to history.
        If this is not enough, find out from Odi and Zaki Biam whether children and women were spared.
        Security organs headed by section on the country can never be fair more so when there is religious difference.
        Disunity within Niger Delta tribes and ethnics will make their doom easier and faster.

    • BayernMunich

      You do not support war? But you support blowing of pipelines eh?

      • otunne steve gofrey

        I would hesitate to fault the government on this, simply because
        there are different factions of Niger Delta group claiming to be
        fighting for the rights of the region. Frankly as far as I’m concerned,
        none of them has proven to be genuinely have the interest of its people
        at the heart of the struggle Therefore, it is expected of the government
        to perform its responsibility of securing lives and properties. it
        doesn’t stop the dialogue in anyway. as long as nobody has any plans to
        break down public law and order, then i don’t see any reason why this
        should disturb the peace of any law abiding citizen.

  • igboham

    The Yoruba are cheering this intimidation of the people they claim to be fellow citizens or brothers. Nigeria may win the battle as they defeated Biafra in 1970. Biafra has not gone away and neither will the Niger Delta. Freedom is a very strong force and can not be defeated outside a complete genocide. It is a shame that a country will amass so much weaponry against its own people. Nigeria will loose in the long run – armed robbery will never be beneficial to the Hausa/Fulani/Yoruba perpetrators.

    • BayernMunich

      Just wait and see before ye ye smell follow you

  • Tunde

    The President can not negotiate from a position of weakness so deploying military equipment is part of the negotiation process. If you know I will win you in a war on the short or long run and we are negotiating the outcome will be favourable to me both ways. So deployment of armament is part of the process of negotiation

  • Tonynwoguson

    The guys may use WMD, weapon of mass destruction against military and Nigeria. War looms. Bursting pipeline is wrong. Deployment of troops and hardcore fighting equipment hits up the entire system. Let there be peace. Good people, Great Nation.

  • Ewu Nama

    I wonder what will happen when there are no more oil reserves in Niger-Delta.

  • John Tosh

    We all wait to see what the CIA would do. The CIA created all these terrorist organizations to control the world.

  • Mosley

    Continuing the deployment is worsening of the security concerns in the region and Nigeria. This struggle will outlive this govt, and will become a campaign issue in 2019. Just imagine the cost of the troops deployment on the economy. Who are the troops going to fight when the militants dont have a standing army, it just a war against an ideology and an invisible foe.

  • Mosley

    War against who?

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