Okuama Killings Could Lead To Serious Consequences Of Collateral Damages To Our National Assets — Ex-Minister, Olanrewaju

Okuama Killings Could Lead To Serious Consequences Of Collateral Damages To Our National Assets — Ex-Minister, Olanrewaju

Former Minister of Communications, Maj. Gen. Tajudeen Olanrewaju, retd, issued a warning on Thursday regarding the killing of some army officers and soldiers in Okuama, Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State. 

Olanrewaju, a former General Officer Commanding, 3 Armoured Division of the Nigerian Army, cautioned that such actions may indicate a new build-up of community warfare that could escalate into a larger conflict in the region if left unaddressed.

He also emphasized that non-state actors masquerading as militants should not be allowed near crude oil pipelines in Nigeria, purportedly for security and protection purposes.

Additionally, he called for the establishment of a national institution to safeguard critical assets and proposed stringent penalties for offenses related to oil theft and banditry. 

Finally, he condemned attacks on military personnel and stressed the importance of holding perpetrators accountable.

Naija News recalls that on Thursday, March 14, 2024, Okuoma youths in Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State killed the Commanding Officer of 181 Amphibious Battalion of the Nigerian Army, Agbor, Lt. Col. AH Ali, along with two majors, one captain, and 13 other soldiers.

Reacting to the Okuama killing, the former Minister said: “That event in Okuama gives me an unsettled mind about events surrounding the nation’s high volumes of oil deposits in Western Delta. The consequences of collateral damages resulting from gang warfare between two warring communities of Okuama and Okoloba could lead to further serious consequences of collateral damages to our national assets as a result of this unwarranted conflict.

“I believe strongly that the federal government should reconsider a new security protection template for our oil rich region, not on a piecemeal basis but the entire oil belt in the country.

“I also have a strong feeling that non-state actors should be called their true identity and not dressed up nicely with a patronising name. They are militants, thugs, hoodlums and are not different from bandits. That is what they are. Their transition has always been from thuggery and militancy to terrorism. That was how Boko Haram started.

“The Okuoma community may signal a new build-up of community warfare that can snowball into a bigger conflict in the region. Who knows? It was Odi, Zaki Biam, now Okuama and Okoloba. This is a smoldering smoke that must be quenched as quickly as possible. The earlier the federal government steps in quickly and keeps the smoldering smoke down as fast as possible, the better in the oil region.

“My view, as my committee suggested on Gen Abisoye’s NNPC Report, still stands the test of time. The National Security Adviser, NSA and the Military High Command must come out with a new Creek defence plan and policy to include the crude oil zone, oil platform, the offshore assets and resources to support them by laws, regulations and the Constitution.

“As a matter of digression, I have made the points that the so-called non-state actors cannot protect our oil pipelines for lack of total patriotism. The nation needs a national institution to protect our national assets. We need to apply capital punishment for offences relating to oil theft in the Niger Delta region and banditry around our mining states.

“The nation derives its revenues from these resources. This definition has to be made clear in our laws and the Constitution. Those soldiers must not die in vain.

“There is nowhere in the world where some sections of the society will be fighting unprotected military officers on peace mission. It is because of armed forces, as an institution, and police that Nigeria is still united. And for a set of people to gang up to cut, burn and kill military officers? It is not done and must not be allowed to be pushed under. Perpetrators must be fished out and punished.”

The post Okuama Killings Could Lead To Serious Consequences Of Collateral Damages To Our National Assets — Ex-Minister, Olanrewaju appeared first on Naija News.

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