The Nigerian Army has said it is winning the war against crude oil theft and militancy in the Niger Delta Region of the country.
This was disclosed on Sunday by the Commander, 16 Brigade, Nigerian Army/Sector 2, Operation Delta Safe (OPDS), Brigadier General Sadisu Yakasai, during the end of the year 2022 West African Social Activities (WASA) held at Camp Tukur Buratai Barracks, Yenagoa, Bayelsa state capital.
He said WASA is an annual event usually organised for officers, soldiers and their families to interact, recalling that the history of the event dates back to 1901 when the Nigeria West Africa Frontier Force went to diverse cultural intervention of West African soldiers.
Yakasai said: “The year 2022 was eventful and highly successful for us in 16 Brigade in the Niger Delta. The war against crude oil theft and militancy is being progressively and steadily won.
“Here in Bayelsa, our troops have been actively involved in Operation Delta Safe against militancy, sea piracy, sea robbery and other forms of criminality in the state especially in the waterways entrance and exit to the state with a lot of successes.
“The Brigade has also been engaged in several other exercises and operations in achieving the feat for the state and the nation’s sake. Some of these include Exercise Still Waters 2022 which is eventually called ‘Operation Safe Conduct’.
General Yakasai stated that own troops would remain professional and apolitical throughout the 2023 general elections,” Yakasai said.
According to him, ‘Operation Safe Conduct’ is aimed at providing the enabling environment for a peaceful and successful conduct of 2023 general elections.
He assured that with preparations so far made, the election will be conducted successfully in Bayelsa and the country at large.
“In counting some of our activities in the course of last year, the Brigade was able to synergize with personnel of other security agencies who supported the Brigade in its operations and also conduct some civil military cooperation activities.
“The civil-military cooperation activities include donation of education materials, donation of relief materials to members of Elebele community and other communities, donation of relief materials to Gloryland Orphanage Home, sanitation exercises, medical outreaches and groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of boreholes in communities.”
Also speaking, Bayelsa state Govenor Douye Diri, said It was a great pleasure to be a part of the interaction with the troops of various formation for this annual event organized by the Nigeria Army across the federation as a form of entertainment to officers, soldiers, their families and well wishers to socialise in an informal setting.
Diri was represented by his Special Adviser on Security Matters, CP Akpoebi Agarebi (rtd.),
He said the occasion which was meant to mark the completion of the Brigade’s training for the year 2022 is indeed a unique event.
The governor said: “This occasion from what I have seen provides a veritable avenue to showcase the glamorous tradition and rich cultural heritage of our communities in barracks and our cantonment.
“I wish to state here that 16 Brigade has every reason to celebrate the year 2022 as its officers and men have remained resolute in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities. I am aware of their tremendous achievements in combating oil theft, kidnapping, militancy, sea piracy/robbery and other activities of criminal elements which have brought remarkable improvements in the security situation in Bayelsa.
“The people of Bayelsa who are the direct beneficiaries of your effort now sleep with their two eyes closed, the people now go about their lawful businesses without fear of molestation .
“I want to also commend your effort in forging synergy and collaboration with other security agencies in ensuring peace within your area of operations, especially your swift intervention during the flood menace that ravaged the state towards the end of 2022.
“Similarly I want to commend your usual prompt response during blockade of the East West road, the gateway into Bayelsa State by non-state actors protesting over welfare and other related matters.
“As you commence the year 2023 activities, let me remind you of the enormous task before you and the need for you to be more focused and determined to confront the maiden challenges as you are all aware 2023 is the year of general elections across the nation and is just a few days from now. Therefore, I implore you to remain apolitical, steadfast and proactive in discharging your responsibilities.