- Military personnel trooped to Bayelsa on a stop and search mission
- Their presence is expected to stop the planned declaration of an independent Niger Delta republic
- The army has vowed to use military force if necessary
There was tension in Bayelsa state following the presence of military personnel in the region as a result of the threat by a militant group to declare an independent Niger Delta republic.
The group, Adaka Boro Avengers had warned south east and south south people to return back to the region as a date has been set for the declaration of the Niger Delta Republic.
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The group specifically called on former president, Goodluck Jonathan, Chief Edwin Clark; King Alfred Diete Spiff; Ankio Briggs; Joseph Eva; Patrick Fufein, Pastor Good, past and present military personnel from the Niger Delta region, present senators and members of the Houses of Representatives to come to Kaiama for the official declaration of the independent republic which is scheduled for Monday, August 1.
The spokesperson of the group, General Edmos Ayayeibo in a statement issued on Sunday, July 24 ordered people from the north and the south west to vacate the South-South before August 1.
Ayayeibo also called on the federal government to “move out all military personnel and all government agencies out of the Niger Delta as failure will lead to destruction of military barracks and personnel.”
He also warned that Hausa and Yoruba people who remained in the region after August 1 will have themselves to blame for whatever befalls them.
Leadership however reports that armed troops stormed Kaima Community of Kolokuma/Opokuma local government to stop any declaration of an independent region.
The operation tagged “Operation Delta Safe” is expected to search and stop any criminal activities in Kaima Community which was the venue of a similar declaration by Ijaw youths in 1998.
Residents of Kaima Community confirmed the movement of troops to the community and said it started on Saturday, July 30 with a stop-and-search operation on vehicles moving along a section of the East-West road.
Miss Preye Angari who lived in the community said the operation has startled many people some of whom had begun to relocate to Yenagoa, the state capital.
The move by the military had been announced on Friday, July 29 with an announcement that military action may be necessary after all attempts to dialogue with the militants fail.
President Muhammadu Buhari had in the past months begged the militants to stop their vandalism of oil and gas pipelines and had also ordered the withdrawal of military troops but it seems this has resulted in the development of mushroom militant groups in the region.
A security plan was also unveiled that will see to the recruitment of natives of oil bearing communities of the Niger Delta into the local arm of the Joint Military Task Force that will serve as intelligence units and defend oil and gas installations.
Mansur Mohammad Dan-Ali who is the minister of defence in a visit to Governor Seriake Dickson had explained that the new security plan would be community driven and did not rule out the use of force if necessary.
Meanwhile, Ijaw leaders sent a strong message to militants not to declare an independent Niger Delta Republic as what they wanted was true federalism.
This warning not to go ahead with the declaration was given at a consultative meeting in Warri in Delta State which was hosted by Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Clark.