The Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has assured that the recent deployment of troops and military hardware in the Niger Delta was not in anticipation of a major offensive against militants.
Citizens in the restive oil-rich region have been living in palpable fear and uncertainty over rumours that the Nigerian military was planning a major offensive in the Niger Delta, which has witnessed a return to militancy in recent times.
But Buratai allayed the fears during a courtesy call on the Olu of Warri, His Royal Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli, in his palace on Ajamimogha Road, Warri, Delta State.
The army chief, who had earlier Saturday morning flagged off the special military drill, codenamed “Operation Crocodile Tears” in Sapele, said the exercise would focus on training for military personnel and not aimed at witch-hunting or victimizing anyone.
“The exercise is a training routine and not designed to witch-hunt anyone. To this end, I urge all law abiding citizens to go about their normal daily activities without fears”, he said
In his reaction, the Olu of Warri said that Nigeria remained indissoluble, saying his subjects and all Deltas believe in one Nigeria.
Recall that in its logistics build-up to the commencement of the exercise, the military embarked on a free medical outreach for Sapele communities in Delta State.
Medical personnel from the Nigerian Army Medical Corps were on hand in the communities to offer medical services free of charge.