Mr Kenedy West, a Youth Leader in the Niger Delta, has lauded the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta for restoring and sustaining peace and reducing criminality in the region.
West, who is also the Senior Special Assistant to Bayelsa Governor on Niger Delta Youth Matters, made the commendation in an interview with newsmen on Sunday in Yenagoa.
He said that the existing peace in the region was due to the efforts of the military, adding that the activities of JTF brought the recent renewed agitation and attacks on oil infrastructure, under control.
He said that the Rear Admiral Apochi Suleman-led JTF, had policed the Niger Delta region effectively, resulting in the reduction of attacks on oil installations to the barest minimum in the past eight months.
“The present Commander of JTF, Rear-Admr, Suleman has been achieving results and has proved to be a round peg in a round hole; his deployment at a time there was renewed restiveness was apt and strategic.
“The military high command got it right and Suleiman, being an operational officer who spends most of his time in the creeks, has brought his naval tactics to check militancy.
“For eight months, there has been no reported incident in the region,” West said.
The Youth leader appealed to Niger Delta people to support the peace moves of the Federal Government aimed at repositioning the region as the oil and gas hub of the nation, noting that insecurity scared investors.
According to West, there is need to launder the image of the Niger Delta region and change the perception of international investors that fled the region as a result of militancy.
“We have to know that the future of the region is under the present administration, which has demonstrated the will to develop the Niger Delta.
“Our people who engage in armed struggle must see that we cannot achieve anything by violence; we need to lure investor who once operated here, that the investment climate is right for them to return.
“Also, worthy of commendation is the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, who has pursued the Niger Delta cause with relentless energy and enthusiasm.
“I wish that other ministers from the region borrow a leaf from him,” West said
He equally commended the Federal Government for its plans to liberalise modular refineries and deploy same as tool to drive development in the region.
He however advised government to leverage on the operational knowledge of the JTF in identifying the sites of artisanal refineries for possible integration and upgrade into the proposed modular refineries.