Delta killing of Soldiers: IYN faults ex-Minister

The Ijaw Youths Network on Friday faulted a former Minister of Communication, Major General Tajudeen Olarenwaju, on the grisly murder of 16 personnel of the Nigerian Army by Okuama youths in Delta State on March 14, 2024 over a land dispute.

The IYN said this in a statement issued by its Coordinator, Frank Ebikabo and Secretary, Federal Ebiaridor, on Friday.

In reacting to the killings, which shocked the entire country, the retired General fought hard to create a non existent link between this crime against humanity and the collaborative protection of the nation’s oil pipeline by private security outfits, the military and security agencies.

The Ijaw Youth Network said that Olarenwaju’s claim that it is unsafe for non-state actors to protect oil installations in the country at this critical time is curious and wrong.

The group said the General’s statement only re-echoed the same misguided and false narrative being peddled by frustrated oil thieves and their cohorts who did not get the pipeline contract of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited.

The group said that the utterances of a man who rose to the rank of a General and one time Minister should not bear semblance with those exploiting the disturbing death of our military personnel to push an obvious economic interest. 

Ebikabo and Ebiaridor said General Olarenwaju should be condoling the institution that produced him, the Nigerian Army, at its moment of grief and not to dabble into or steer needless controversy.

The IYN leadership said that the General should be concerned about how to track down and arrest those who brazenly assaulted the collective peace, safety and security of this country.

The group said that the General’s cannot claim ignorance of massive theft of the nation’s oil resources by a virulent cabal comprising Nigerians and their evil foreign collaborators, which made former Presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari and the NNPCL to explore the use of capable private security outfits to complement the efforts of the military and security outfits.

According to the IYN, the General is aware of the relentless pursuit of the oil thieves in the coastal waters and creeks of the Niger Delta with several arrests of rogue vessels in the region by Tantita Security Services Limited.

The group urged President Bola Tinubu and the NNPCL to continue with the decisive policy against oil theft, which has increased oil production and has been applauded all over the country, noting that no distraction deserves no attention.

The statement said: “The military assets of the country are already over stretched. 

Successive Presidents have engaged Private security outfits to fight the lethal scourge of oil theft in Nigeria. 

“It is not unusual and it is a trend that is commonplace around the world. 

“Even developed countries such as the US and the UK also employ the services of private security consultants to maximise security of critical assets and facilities.

“Prior to the renewal of the contract of Tantita Security Services, the general had not found it necessary to besiege the media space about the purported inappropriateness of engaging private security outfit to fight oil theft.

“Perhaps, the various feats accomplished by Tantita and the widespread recognition accorded to the company should convince the General that private security outfits do not constitute any danger to the security of the nation’s critical oil pipeline.

“What should be of concern to the general is the sad story of oil theft that made the President and the NNPC to seek proactive response to the problem that threatened the nation’s existence.

“It is shocking that the general is reducing the cold blooded murder of soldiers as a fall out of gang violence in the region. This is an attempt to twist the facts of the matter.

“There is no link between the private security outfits and the gruesome murder of soldiers on lawful duty. This rush to throw curious, unsolicited advice should be beneath him.

“His suggestion is a personal opinion inspired by a lack of understanding of the story of the nation’s oil sector or a classic case of selective amnesia.

“Such hurried viewpoints seem to suggest that some ingrained interests who are jolted by the gains of the campaigns of oil theft are at work.

“A General’s statement shouldn’t be in that direction.”

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