The federal government has ordered the Ijaw communities who are believed to be hiding the ex-militants who carried out a three-day bombing of crude oil and gas pipelines some weeks ago, to hand over the perpetrators to law enforcement agents.
The involved communities who are suspected to be hiding the perpetuators are in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State.
The directive, which came through the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina on Sunday, also urged the communities not to entertain fear of bombardment by security agencies, but to demonstrate patriotism by handing over suspects behind the recent bombing.
Adesina said: “Ijaw communities need not fear. What they can rather do is to hand over culprits hiding in their midst to the authorities. If they have identified those who blew up pipelines, and who are taking refuge in their communities, as good citizens, they should hand them over to law enforcement agents.
“Ijaws are Nigerians and good ones too. They should not allow a little leaven to destroy the whole lump. Rather, they should demonstrate patriotism by giving up evildoers. Such exists everywhere, and the onus is on good people not to shelter them.
“There are rules of engagement for every operation, and you can be sure that the Nigerian military will do what is right,” he stated.
On claims that the Presidency was out to disgrace ex-MEND leader, Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo, because of his alleged closeness to former president Goodluck Jonathan, Adesina said said: “The question of anybody being humiliated due to closeness to the former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan does not exist.
“This is not a vengeful government, and right on inauguration day, President Muhammadu Buhari had indicated that nobody needs fear that he would be out for vengeance. In his National Day broadcast on October 1 last year, the President also said people should not be afraid of his person, but fear the consequences of their actions. Therefore, nobody should fear humiliation on account of being close to anybody, as long as such person has clean hands.”
On whether the Federal Government was looking into Tompolo’s allegations that some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC, were behind the bombing, he said: “The Presidency should not be looking into allegations, when already security agencies have been empowered and positioned to do so. Anybody can claim anything, and the President has too much on his hands to allow such to constitute distraction.”
“Every Nigerian is the same, no matter his status or standing. If anybody says there is attempt to rope him into anything, the security agencies are there to establish the truth. When the President said he belonged to everybody, it meant that a level playing field would be created for all Nigerians,” he added.