Military deploys helicopters to Niger Delta to prevent militants activities.
The Nigerian Army helicopters have been deployed to the Niger Delta region as the residents of Oporoza, the headquaters of Gbaramatu Kingdom in the Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, on Tuesday, saw two helicopters flying around the community.
Naija News gathered that the helicopters were first sighted by the residents at 10am and flown for about 30 minutes before leaving the village. Thereafter, they returned at noon causing some residents to flee into the bush for fear that the soldiers were coming to invade the community.
Information obtained by Punch says local sources appealed to the Federal Government to caution the military in order to avoid another invasion of the community over the recent threat by the Niger Delta Avengers.
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It was learnt that the Nigerian military had deployed more soldiers to Gbaramatu and the Escravos River and Burutu, to avert the militants plots to attack oil and gas facilities and check their other activities.
A military source, anonymously told Punch that they were only carrying out aerial surveillance of the area, in response to the threat by the NDA.
The spokesman for the Gbaramatu Traditional Council, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, said there was no militant invading their communities, and urged the government not to turn Gbaramatu Kingdom into a war zone.
Gbenekama said, “Military helicoptershave been hovering round our communities in Gbaramatu kingdom since morning (Tuesday).
“Gbaramatu people are not at war with the Federal Government. Why is it that anytime there is crisis in Bayelsa or Rivers states, the first port of call is Gbaramatu? We are just one of the many communities in the Niger Delta. We don’t deserve this siege. We have been championing peace since 2009, but every time military men are drafted to Gbaramatu.
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“While we appeal to the Niger Delta Avengers to sheathe their swords, we don’t know the rationale behind the deployment of troops and gun boats to Gbaramatu creeks. We don’t want what happened in 2009 and 2016 to happen again. So, let the military restrain their men from our villages. We don’t harbour militants. Avengers are not resident in Gbaramatu Kingdom.”
Reacting to the incident, the Commander, Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS, Delta, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu, said the helicopters were on routine patrol along the Trans Forcados Pipeline.
Dewu said, “What they are speculating as military deployment is routine patrol along the Escravos and the Trans Forcados Pipeline. Once we sense any security concern on that line, our men usually move in to patrol the area. Nobody is deploying any gunboat or jets to specific communities. It is a normal patrol.”