Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bombing threats: Osinbajo meets S-South govs, service chiefs, others

MEETING: From left, Governors Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), Nyesom Wike (Rivers), Ifeanyi Okowa(Delta), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo) and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, during the Acting President’s meeting with the Niger Delta governors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, yesterday. Photo: Abayomi Adeshida.  Apparently moved by the threats of Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force, JNDLF, to bomb major government buildings in Abuja starting from midnight today, the Federal Government, on Tuesday, June 07, 2016 called for an emergency security meeting.
The meeting, which appeared to be a strategic one, had in attendance the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo; governors of oil producing states; service chiefs; Minister of Defence, Dan Ali; Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu; Special Adviser to the President on Amnesty Programme, Gen. Paul Boroh, among others.
The meeting came on a day the main co-ordinator of attacks on Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and Chevron Nigeria Limited, CNL, oil and gas installations in Delta State was paraded by the Navy.
 Governors in attendance at the meeting included Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Adams Oshiomhole (Edo); Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo); Seriake Dickson (Bayelsa), and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia). Service chiefs at the meeting were Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen Tukur Buratai, and Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas.
 Held at the conference room of the Acting President at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, the meeting which started at about 10a.m. ended at about 3p.m.
Briefing State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State said they took briefings of the situation in the Niger Delta by the security chiefs and Minister of State for Petroleum.
He said the meeting particularly noted the unhealthy developments in Delta and Bayelsa states, saying a solution was underway.
The governor, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, also revealed that there would be a stand-down of military action in the zone.
He said the outcome of the meeting, which extensively sought collaboration with the states, would be implemented immediately.
His words: “We, governors of oil producing states, security chiefs and ministers who are concerned, met with the Vice-President and I believe we had a very fruitful meeting.
“One thing we identified, which is the synergy between the Federal Government and the states, which is very important, is that this meeting has raised a lot of issues and we believe that the collaboration will help us to tackle the issues in the Niger Delta.
 “Of course, we were briefed by the service chiefs and the governors also have their own perspectives along with the Minister of State for Petroleum.
“We have taken a lot of decisions which will help us mitigate what is going on currently in the states, particularly Bayelsa and Delta.We believe we are going to find a solution to it.

Need to share intelligence

 “One of such is that there is a need for us to share intelligence which is very important and for us to be proactive, working together with the various stakeholders in the states to achieve a better result going forward.
 “We have also agreed that there is a need to distill military operations by helping communities where the military needs to actually remain on our waterways to ensure that we adequately man the waterways, while we engage the communities and that engagement will start any moment from now.
“Right from today, there is a meeting right after this and we are going to be collaborating, even as we return to our various states.”

On amnesty programme

Asked when the amnesty programme would be revisited, the governor said it was still ongoing. He said: “I don’t think the amnesty has been put to a stop. I think the process is still ongoing, we have a Special Adviser in charge of amnesty and he is doing very well.
 “I am aware that he did come in to talk with some of the communities and along with the advocacy team that was put up in Delta State. He did brief us today and I believe it is going to be maintained,” he said.
 In a similar vein, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, also corroborated the stance of the Delta State governor on the issue.

Nigeria not at war

 He said: “We agreed that we all have to work together to refocus on development issues, economic issues, military issues and community issues.
Whatever he has told you there, that is what we have agreed to do. “This is a government elected by the people to govern for their own good. You can’t govern that person without talking to that person. It is common sense. That does not mean humiliation.
“You must engage your people.
Nigeria is not at war and we cannot be at war with ourselves. If we have conflicts, we will talk through those conflicts.”

Navy parades bombing kingpin, others

Meanwhile, the main coordinator of attacks on the NNPC, and Chevron oil and gas installations in Delta State was paraded in Warri, yesterday, by the Navy.
 Hooded Michael John, suspected member of a gang that killed three soldiers at Jones Creek three months ago and recent killing of a soldier, police and a boat rider at Batan, Warri South West LGA, Delta State being paraded at the Naval base in Warri, yesterday.

His arrest came barely 24 hours after the Federal Government extended the olive branch to militants in the Niger Delta, who had been blowing up oil and gas pipelines in the region through a two-week ceasefire to create room for dialogue.
Parading the suspected coordinator of attacks on NNPC and Chevron facilities at the Naval base in Warri, yesterday, Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Delta, Commodore Ramie Mohammed, said he was arrested in connection with the attack on SPDC 48-inch export pipeline onshore Forcados.
The commander, who did not want to be drawn into comments on whether the suspect was a member of Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, or not, said what was of interest to him was that the suspect carried out the attacks.
 He said: “The Nigerian Navy, in collaboration with other security agencies, has arrested the main coordinator of attacks on NNPC and Chevron oil and gas facilities we have witnessed since May 4 with the attack on Okan Valve Platform offshore Escravos.
This arrest came after several weeks of trailing and arrest of several of his foot soldiers. “This suspect is also deeply involved in pipeline vandalism to steal crude oil. He steals crude from about 35 abandoned oil well heads and pipelines in Okpoko and Obodo, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State. Navy believes with his arrest, attacks on Chevron/NNPC oil and gas facilities will abate.”
Also paraded by the NNS Delta was a suspect arrested on May 29 for the alleged role he played in a gang’s killing of a soldier, police officer and one other victim.
Both the suspected killer of security operatives and the alleged mastermind of the NNPC and Chevron oil and assets attacks were hooded.
Commodore Mohammed said the identity of the suspects were shielded so as not to compromise ongoing investigations that would lead to arrest of his collaborators.