November 2, 2017

N-Deltans desert homes over Navy’s Operation Octopus Grip —IYC President

Navy, Recruitment

By Emma Amaize

PRESIDENT, Ijaw Youth Congress, IYC, Mr.  Pereotubo Oweilami, yesterday, raised the alarm that many residents of riverine communities in the Niger Delta region have deserted their homes for fear of invasion, following the deployment of several warships and armored gunboats to the creeks by the Nigerian Navy for Operation Octopus Grip, not long after the Nigerian Army’s Operation Crocodile Smile II.

Oweilami, in a statement deploring the serial military drills by the armed forces in the region, said: “The military drill, code named, Operation Octopus Grip, declared by the Nigerian Navy in the region where it deployed several warships and armoured gunboats to the creeks, is tantamount to a declaration of war against peaceful and law-abiding citizens of Nigeria.”

The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Central Naval Command, CNC, Rear Adm. Bello Al-Hassan, had, while briefing reporters on the take-off of the exercise in Bayelsa and Delta states, said it was to enhance the combat readiness of the personnel, secure the waterways and provide adequate security within the command’s area of responsibility.

He disclosed that the command in January, launched Operation Rivers Sweep, adding, “So far, the operation has recorded huge success in reducing crude oil theft, pipeline vandalism and other maritime crimes. Between May and September this year, the command seized and destroyed about 870,000 MT of illegally refined crude oil.”

But IYC president asserted, “The injury the Nigerian Army’s version of the military drill has inflicted on the Ijaw people through its belligerent Operation Crocodile Smile II has given us eternal scare of war.”

He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call the military to order, saying, “What it is doing in the Niger Delta is an invitation to anarchy, there is nowhere in the world this practice should be celebrated where military destroys peaceful and law-abiding communities with flimsy and irresponsible excuses.”