The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, has ordered
military formations throughout the Niger Delta region to move to take
over criminal hideouts along the creeks and waterways of the region
and use them as a launching pad for military operations against
criminality and attacks on national assets in the area.

He was speaking Tuesday in Yenagoa during the formal
operationalization of the 16th Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Bayelsa

He urged the people of the Niger Delta not to perceive the increased
movement of troops and more military formations in the region as an
act of invasion or intimidation, but as protection against crime and
criminality towards desired development.

Buratai was accompanied during the commissioning of the headquarters
of the 16th Brigade by Bayelsa State Governor Seriake Dickson and his
Deputy, Rear Admiral John Jonah. He noted that the approval for the
setting up of over six military formations in Bayelsa Stae was done by
President Muhammadu Buhari in fulfillment to the request made by his
administration, adding that today was not just about fulfillment of
promises but the realities of the times.

“Many security challenges have confronted us today that required a
robust response and preservation of lives and human dignity. The
protection of individual and critical assets through the wellbeing of
Nigeria and those helping us aspire for prosperity as a nation. This,
we will all agree with me, is the cardinal reason why governments
exist. Unfortunately, the last one year, particularly in the Niger
Delta region, have led to heightened security and attendant dwindling

He observed that many people in the Niger Delta have become victims of
sea piracy, robberies, kidnappings, deadly rival cult wars and
environmental hazards occasioned by the proliferation of arms in deep
political divides and illegal oil bunkering.

“You will also agree with me that no government worth its salt will
fold its arms and allow such brazen attacks on its citizens and
national assets without doing something about it,” he declared.

“So, our expansion of the foot prints of the Nigerian Army in several
states is one of the steps taken by President Muhammadu Buhari to stem
the tide of insecurity in partnership with stakeholders in several
more states.”

Buratai commended Governor Dickson for his administration’s support of
the military with the allocation of more lands in Nembe, Sagbama,
Yenagoa, Igbonege for new military formations, and charged the
military to “take over the hide outs of criminals in the creeks and
make [them] a charging point.”

Earlier at the Government House, Lt. Gen. Buratai noted the massive
support of the Bayelsa State government despite the current economic
challenges and assured that the army would reciprocate by working with
other sister agencies to make the state safer.

In his speeches at the events, Mr. Dickson thanked Mr. Buhari and the
Army Command for fulfilling the pledge of setting up the new brigade
in the state, noting that it would further strengthen the security in
the area.

Mr. Dickson, who formally commissioned the new 16 brigade headquarters
located at AIT/Elebele Road, charged the Army Command not to allow the
land for the permanent site of the brigade to lie fallow for too long.
He also tasked the visiting Army Chief to set up good command schools
and medical outfits to compliment the development drive of the

“As you are aware, our government has a very clear agenda on
development, a very clear agenda on security, and a very clear agenda
on promoting prosperity. And none of these can be achieved without
first establishing a conducive, peaceful and safe environment,” the
governor said.

Mr. Dickson also welcomed the proposal to inaugurate a battalion in
Nembe, saying it would completely end the skirmishes rampant in the
area because of its coastline and its location as a major gateway.

The governor took the opportunity to hand over a written request
asking the Army to send its personnel to provide technical assistance,
by way of physical training, to students in the newly-built model
schools across the state, especially the flagship Ijaw National
Academy at Kaiama, in Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area.

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