Navy deploys navigating gunboats to fight militants
The Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) is said to have willingly agreed to dialogue with the Federal Government to resolve the lingering crisis in the region. According to News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the spokesman for the group, Mr. Ballantyne Agiri, in a statement issued in Abuja yesterday, said that the NDA had constituted a contact and dialogue group to engage the Federal Government in meaningful talks.
He stressed that the group was determined to come out with results that would yield lasting peace, equity, justice and harmony among all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.
“The body has collectively and willingly agreed to heed the clarion call of eminent Nigerians and international community to dialogue with the Federal Government,” he said.
Agiri, who urged Nigerians and the international community to follow the event and watch out which side would default in terms of abiding by the rules and spirit of the dialogue, added: “The Federal Government should from the inception of the dialogue rule out from the agenda any monthly monetary inducement or stipend for the NDA.
“The Federal Government should be ready for structural changes that should be human and development-oriented.“Members of the Avengers’ group (who will participate in the dialogue) have already been selected, each based on his integrity, forthrightness, honesty and life-track records.
“The names of members of the group for now shall not be made public for personal reasons until they begin functioning in few days ahead.”In another development, the Nigerian Navy (NN) has deployed 39 creek-navigating patrol gunboats to fight oil thieves and the Avengers.
This development occurred barely six months after the NN inaugurated 30 of the same class of boats (Epenal boats) in Port Harcourt, which were built at the Naval Dockyard Limited, Lagos.
Of the 39 gunboats unveiled by the Minister of Defence, Gen. Muhammad Dan-Ali (rtd), yesterday in Lagos, 30 were indigenously constructed, while nine of them, including three wave riders and six arrows, were acquired from Sri Lanka.
Dan-Ali, who was represented by the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Danjuma Sheni, also launched 45 different brands of vehicles acquired to boost land operations.Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, said the boats were built with improved features from the 30 inaugurated in Port Harcourt.
Speaking with journalists after the event, Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Isa Aman-Isa, said the legislature was aware of the requirements of the Navy and has ensured it benefits from the N60 billion China-Africa partnership loan.