The Federal Government and the military have mapped out new security measures to protect the Niger Delta region despite the outcome of the ongoing dialogue to end hostilities in the region.
In the new arrangement, the government is considering the integrations of the civilian Joint Task Force (JTF) and ex-militants in the operations of the new JTF, Operation Delta Safe (ODS) as well as establishing new brigades in region.
The Minister of Defence, Gen. Mansur Dan-Ali (retd) and the Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin, dropped the hints in Bayelsa State when they toured various components of ODS in the state.
Dan-Ali said the government was planning to establish the local JTF following the feats a similar outfit achieved in the war against the Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East.
Dan-Ali and Olonisakin were accompanied by the Commander, ODS, Rear Admiral Joseph Okogie, component heads of ODS; Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Central Naval Command (CNC), Rear Admiral Mohammed Garba, and the Air Force Commanding Mobility Command.
Speaking in Yenagoa, the state capital, the minister confirmed that the government was considering involving the locals and other stakeholders in the region including the governors in the new security architecture to replicate the civilian JTF in the North-East.
He said: “I come here to see how we can improve their logistics. You may recall that during our last meeting with the Vice-President where all the governors from Southsouth and east attended, it was agreed that whatever security arrangement that we will have must involve people within the general area.
“I am here to enforce the decision whereby all the governors and locals in the general area will be accommodated in the security architecture. We have such arrangement in the North-East where we have local JTF and they were of tremendous assistance to our armed forces especially when it comes to gathering of intelligence.
“This is one of the cardinal arrangements and that is why I said I should come and have a pure assessment of how we could imbibe them in this new security architecture of this new operation called Operation Delta Safe”.
While paying a courtesy visit to the state Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, who was represented by his deputy, John Jonah, he asked the state to help the federal government identify some illegal websites used by some persons to spread unfounded allegations against the military.
He said: “We are also of the opinion that you will help us in identifying some of the illegal websites that are used for rumour mongering and painting our armed forces in bad light; painting them in the activities that we thought should not be.
“We are also of the opinion of getting some of these amnesty students that have graduated involved in the security architecture. They are being paid and we are thinking of the way they can be useful to us instead of just paying them.
“We are also of the opinion that we should be having constant rotation of our security personnel to give us better understanding of how some of them will not be engaged in these illegal activities because if they overstay, they also get accustomed and get involved in some of these illegal activities. We also thinking of establishing special brigades”.