Navy battle-ready for Avengers, says Vice Admiral Ibas, CNS

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*Okowa appeals to Avengers not recommence bombing
By Emma Amaize
ASABA – CHIEF of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibo-Ete Ibas, said Monday, that the Nigerian Navy had reinforced security measures to militant insurgency, sea pirates, kidnapping and illegal bunkering just as the Delta state governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa appealed to the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA, not to bomb oil facilities in the state.

Vice Admiral, who spoke after inspection of facilities at the Naval Engineering College, Sapele, Delta state, reassured multinational oil companies that despite the recent threat by Avengers, the navy would protect their staff and oil facilities in the Niger Delta region.

His words “Nigerian Navy has implemented various security measures to curb militant insurgency, sea pirates, kidnapping and illegal oil bunkering in the region. For sea fearers who use the sea, Navy is ready to protect seafarers who are on legitimate businesses.”

He said that Navy had deployed its men at strategic locations to ensure that the waterways were safe for International Oil Companies to carry out their legitimate duties in the Niger Delta region.

The navy boss also urged the public not to panic because of the threat by militants, as the navy has the professional capacity to curtail the menace in the region,

His words, ‘‘We will work in collaboration with other sister security agencies to fight against pipeline vandalism, illegal oil bunkering and sea-piracy as well as protection of the international territorial waterways.”

On his part, the Delta governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, also yesterday, sent a passionate appeal to the Niger Delta Avengers not to embark on further attacks on oil facilities in the Niger Delta.

Okowa made the appeal in a statement issued on Monday in Asaba by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu wherein he noted that Deltans will lose more if the group make good their latest threat to withdraw from further cooperation with the federal government and begin massive attacks on oil facilities.

“We passionately appeal to the Niger Delta Avengers not to resume hostilities, because Deltans will be the greatest losers. We are barely recovering from the effect of previous attacks and it is our honest appeal that they still give peace a chance by allowing for peaceful engagements with the Federal Government and other stakeholders.

“This appeal for peace remains imperative, because without the atmosphere of peace, no meaningful negotiations and development can take place, he said, adding “resumption of hostilities will not be in the interest of our people but a major setback to the plans and aspirations of the state.”

“We have continued to appreciate our brothers in the struggle for their continued patience and cooperation while we engage the Federal Government on ways to attend to the various issues being raised by the group.

“As a state, we have made several interventions to make life more meaningful for oil bearing communities especially in the area of road construction in the creeks and without the enabling peace we cannot progress in that direction.” he asserted.

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