Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa has urged Nigerians to join forces with the Federal Government and security agencies to fight insecurity in the country.
He made the plea at the launch of “Operation Still Waters” at the Forward Operational Base, 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army at Ogbia town, Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa.
It was reported that the governor, represented by his Deputy, Mr Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo at the occasion, urged people to jettison their partisan, religious and ethnic differences in fighting insurgence.
He commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt. Gen. Farouk Yahaya, for the sacrifices being made for the peace and security of the country.
Diri described the military as the bastion of security and a unifying factor in the country, adding that the sacrifices being made by military personnel to keep Nigeria united were worthy of appreciation and encouragement.
He applauded officers and men for their gallant efforts in checking violence and criminality in the country.
He expressed hope that Operation Still Waters would help to check crude oil theft, kidnapping, sea piracy and other criminal activities on the waterways in the Niger Delta.
He, however, charged the military to exhibit high level of professionalism in the discharge of their duties to guard against human rights abuses.
The governor also used the opportunity to call on youths to toe the path of peace and refrain from all forms of criminality, noting that the Operation Still Waters would not spare anyone who is culpable.
He particularly cautioned the youths against illegal refining of crude oil, sea piracy, kidnapping, pipeline vandalism, cultism and other vices.
He said “we want to use this opportunity to convey our appreciation to the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, President Muhammadu Buhari,
the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Farouk Yahaya and military commanders who made a lot of sacrifices for our country, our state and our people.
“Our service men have fought on our behalf at the risk of their lives and families. The sacrifices you have been making for this country must at this time be recognised.
We believe that the state government and the security agencies have been responding appropriately to any crimes reported.
“We want to commend you for what you are doing in the state, for bringing justice to the criminals and the criminals to justice. We want to use this opportunity to encourage our youths to toe the path of peace, abandon the path of pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, illegal refining and cultism. We are appealing to them to abandon those unproductive lifestyles.”
Earlier in his address of welcome, Brigade 16 Commander, Brig.-Gen. Oluwarotimi Awolo, said the military exercise was in line with the directive of the Chief of Army Staff to wipe out sea piracy, kidnapping, pipeline destruction among other vices in the Niger Delta.
Awolo disclosed that the exercise was also intended to build a robust civil-military cooperation and synergy, with medical outreaches to be carried out in selected communities in the operational area.
He assured Bayelsa people of the military’s commitment to rid the state of criminals in a professional manner, and solicited the support of the government and people.
In his remarks, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division of the Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. S.G. Mohammed, pointed out that the exercise was simultaneously launched in Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta and Akwa-Ibom states.
Represented by Brig.-Gen E.A Agbebaku, the GOC acknowledged the state government’s support, stressing that the exercise would promote inter-agency cooperation between the army and other security agencies in the Niger Delta.