The Defence Headquarters, on Tuesday, warned that the Armed Forces of the country will not tolerate any form of criminality in Niger Delta region.
It alerted the general public of the disturbing spate of various militant groups springing up in the region, with each of them hiding under regional agitation to commit all manners of crimes and atrocities.
In a statement, the Defence Headquarters noted that the latest was the Niger Delta Greenland Justice Mandate (NDGJM), which it said claimed responsibility for blowing up Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) oil pipeline a few days ago.
“The same group has come out again, demanding residents living near oil and gas infrastructure to vacate their homes to avoid being caught in its next attacks,” the statement noted.
The Defence Headquarters said it wished to state, in clear terms, that no group or individual had the right to threaten or force residents in any part of Nigeria to abandon their homes in obeisance to certain group’s selfish and devilish interest.
The statement read: “It is more worrisome that despite the Federal Government’s olive branch to broker peace and proffer solution to the lingering Niger Delta problem, some groups are still fanning the ember of war.
“The military and other security agencies would remain focused, unintimidated and will display professionalism in ensuring adequate security to lives and property.
“While the Armed Forces respect government’s negotiation with relevant stakeholders in the Niger Delta, the military exercise and operations in the area are not targeted at any group or meant to make lives difficult for the inhabitants.
“The ongoing exercise is geared towards enhancing civil-military relationship and building the confidence of the residents on the ability of the military to protect them. The exercise also demonstrates the strength of the troops to purge the region of criminals and economic saboteurs.
“The military and other security agencies wish to, therefore, reaffirm their total commitment to ensure security of lives and property, not only in the Niger Delta, but throughout the federation.
“We also solicit the cooperation of all the stakeholders, including the royal fathers, leaders and youths to achieve this feat.
“We urge public, especially those residing in the Niger Delta, to discountenance the threat and request innocent citizens and those domiciled therein to go about their legitimate businesses.”