The Commander, OPS, Maj. Gen. Alani Okunlola, stated this while reacting to a threat by a group, the Niger Delta Avengers, which vowed to carry out more pipeline vandalism in the region.
In a statement by the Coordinator, Joint Media Campaign Centre, OPS, Col. Ado Isa, the commander reiterated the troops’ resolve to crack down on vandals and economic saboteurs and also ensure the arrest of perpetrators and their accomplices for prosecution.
“Anybody or group masquerading as militants are criminals and will be resisted and crushed in line with the mandate of the Joint Force in the Niger Delta.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria granted amnesty to repentant agitators and the amnesty automatically ends militancy and agitation in the region. Any group or persons under whatever guise will be treated like common criminals.
“The Force had carried out aggressive patrols and surveillances within the waterways and the creeks, which had led to the arrest of suspects, and recovery of arms and ammunition, illegal oil bunkering vessels and barges and the suspects are at various stages of prosecution in Nigerian courts of competent jurisdiction,” Okunlola said.
Okunlola called on the “so-called Niger Delta Avengers” to have a re-think and desist from doing anything that would make them cross the path of the OPS.
He called on opinion and community leaders to advise their subjects, especially the youths, on the dangers of engaging in any act capable of undermining the security and economy of the country.
Okunlola also urged the youths to engage themselves in lawful ventures in order to help themselves and the society and avoid any act capable of ruining their future.
He said, “The command also wishes to assure the Niger Delta residents of the OPS’s determination to wipe out all acts of illegalities in the region.
“We call on them to come up with useful information that will aid the Joint Force in its operations.
“May I also assure the people of the region that the Joint Force is on top of the situation and will soon round up the criminals and bring them to justice.”
The Niger Delta Avengers had reportedly claimed responsibility for the recent major attacks on pipelines in the Niger Delta and vowed to carry out more attacks on oil pipelines.
The group also claimed that it carried out attacks on Shell Petroleum Development Company’s underwater pipeline in February this year and the Egwa 1 attack in Delta State.