Ahead of the National Assembly re-run elections in Rivers state, the Nigerian army, on Monday, promised to deal decisively with any criminal groups that intends to breach the public peace.
The army gave the assurance in Port Harcourt after some Nigerians expressed fears that militancy may have resurfaced in the Niger Delta region following recent attacks on oil installations.
A statement issued by the assistant director, army public relations of 2 Brigade, Capt. Eli Lazarus, said the command was aware that some politicians were arming and encouraging groups with breach public peace during the polls.
He however cautioned that such persons, when caught, will have themselves to blame.
He further assured that the army will deal decisively with defaulters in accordance with the law.
He said: some politicians are arming these groups and encouraging them with inciting comments to breach the public peace. No one should be in doubt of the capacity of the military to deal with such persons. Persons caught breaching public peace, particularly during the elections, will have themselves to blame. Some suspected patrons and sponsors of these criminal groups are closely monitored by security agencies.”
Speaking on the recent attack on oil pipelines in the state, Capt. Lazarus said “In the early hours of Sunday, February 7, 2016, pipeline vandals destroyed a gas facility at Akala Olu village in Oshie community, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State, thereby disrupting the production activities of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC). The vandals threatened to carry out further acts of vandalism, unless their demands are met.
“The vandals are suspected members of Icelander cult group. The group demanded the release of a detained suspect, Emmanuel Odum, undergoing interrogation in connection with pipeline vandalism and cult-related activities.
He stated that the army has resolved to protect oil installations in the area, adding that they will deal with anyone caught vandalizing national assets.