President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on unleashing military forces on Niger Delta militants may not have changed 4 months after he stated the position.
Recall that in April this during his visit to China, the president while meeting with the Nigerian community there said that saboteurs and vandals of the oil and gas installations in the Niger Delta region would be given the Boko Haram treatment should they continue with their nefarious acts.
He had said: “I ask for your support to make our vision of stamping out corruption a reality in the shortest possible time. Whoever is caught will not be spared. The government is still being dared, but those who are sensible should have learned a lesson. Those who are mad, let them continue in their madness.
“I am aware that in the last two weeks, the national grid collapsed a number of times. I hope this message will reach the vandals and saboteurs who are blowing up pipelines and installations. We will deal with them the way we dealt with Boko Haram.”
Yet on Saturday night while holding bilateral talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, on the sidelines of the sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) in Nairobi, Kenya, the president made a repeat of the threat.
The development was a way of strongly assuring the existing and prospective foreign investors in Nigeria that their investments were fully secured and protected.
He told the Japanese leader that with the defeat of the Boko Haram terrorists by the military, the attention of the administration was now focused on stopping the destruction of the country’s economic assets by militants in the Niger Delta region.
He said the militants must dialogue with the Federal government or be dealt with in the same way like Boko Haram.
“We are talking to some of their leaders. We will deal with them as we dealt with Boko Haram if they refuse to talk to us.
“As a government, we know our responsibility, which is to secure the environment. It is clear to us that lenders won’t fund projects in insecure environments.
“We realize that we have to secure the country before we can efficiently manage it,” the President said.
President Buhari also told Abe that security in the Gulf of Guinea, which he said was being greatly affected by piracy and armed robbery at sea, was a priority for the Nigerian government.
‘‘We have provided funds to our Navy to buy new platforms, train and effectively organize the personnel to protect the area. We are looking forward to support from developed nations for satellite surveillance covering the Gulf,’’ he said.