Military vows not to negotiate with Niger Delta Avengers 

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By OKOSUN DENNIS

The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Gabriel Olonisakin, on Thursday in Lagos said that despite the monstrous attacks on oil pipelines and gas installations by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), will not compel the Armed Forces to call for negotiation with the criminals.

Olonisakin, who spoke in the company of the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar and Air Officer Commanding (AOC), Logistics Command, Air Vice Marshal Sani Ahmed, said the military’s defence architecture is still in place.

Olonisakin, who commissioned10 highly-militarised Honker Scorpion vehicles, just acquired by the Nigerian Airforce met to be deployed to bases across the country in line with the NAF’s new Base Defence Concept (BDC), stressed that the military would rather enforce orders rather than negotiating with them. He added that having reviewed the activities of members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), they will not take lightly with them.

Gen Olonisakin explained that there are better ways they can air their grievances rather than through brigandage. “They have the right to protest but should do that by obtaining necessary permit to protest. If they resort to violence, we will not take it lightly with them,” he added.

ALSO SEE: DHQ warns economic saboteurs in Niger Delta

Speaking on the newly acquired vehicles for base defence he said, “The vehicles being commissioned were procured specifically for the purpose of enhancing security of the air assets within the area of their deployment.

“The equipment are certainly geared towards raising and maintaining the capability of the regiment troops as they contribute to our collective efforts to address the various security challenges confronting our nation.

“I must commend the CAS for this strategic initiative of providing troops with adequate equipment and undertaking numerous other projects which culminate into actualising his vision for the NAF.

“The procurement of these Honker Airfield Defence vehicles is a testimony of the importance the NAF attaches to protection of its critical assets and force protection,” the CDS added

On his part, the Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshall Saqid Abubakar reiterated the commitment of the force to adhere to the constitutional provision that established NAF to provide security for all Nigerians.

“We will operate within that constitution and that all citizens in the Niger Delta region and all citizens are safe.”

ALSO SEE: Niger Delta: Politics of renewed attacks on oil facilities and matters arising

He explained that the procured vehicles and the Base Defence Concept (BDC), was necessitated by the 2013 attack in NAF base at Maiduguri.

He said, “The NAF has adopted a new strategy of Base Security Known as the BDC, which utilises kinetics (vehicles) in addition to the state of the art information technology systems in a larger organic Base Defence Coordinator Center (BDCC).

“This enables real time observation, reporting and response to activities around the area of interest. The BDCC as opposed to the previous concept of the use of guard posts, is proactive and allows for the use of initiatives in deterring, defending and protecting vital assets.

“The NAF and indeed the nation cannot afford to lose any viral asset through the activities of saboteurs, terrorists, or hoodlums in whatever guise they may be. It is against this backdrop that the NAF acquired these Honker Specialised Vehicles.”

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