President Muhammadu Buhari has vowed to deal decisively with the seeming resurgence of oil theft, vandalism of pipelines and general insecurity in the volatile Niger Delta.
Noting that the Nigerian Armed Forces had already dealt “deadly blows” on Boko Haram, President Buhari said the activities of oil thieves and vandals would soon be a thing of the past, a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said on Tuesday.
“The oil thieves and abductors are a less problematic target. We will re-organise and deal with them”, he was quoted as saying.
It would be recalled that suspected militants last week launched a wave of attacks on oil and gas facilities in Delta State after a Federal High Court in Lagos issued a bench warrant of arrest for a former militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo aka Tompolo.
Speaking Tuesday in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where he attended the 2016 World Future Energy Summit, WFES, President Buhari also read the riot act to telecommunication companies operating in Nigeria, warning them against placing their desire for huge profits above the security needs of the country.
Speaking at an interactive forum with members of the Nigerian Community in Abu Dhabi, Buhari said the war against terrorism can only be won with the collective effort and commitment of everyone.
Remarking that the registration of all mobile phone users without exception will help the security agencies to pre-empt terrorist attacks, the president said telecommunication companies operating in Nigeria must adhere to the rules and guidelines of the Nigerian Communications Commission in this regard.
Although he did not mention any name, it is believed the president was making veiled reference to the hefty fine imposed on leading telecoms service provider, MTN Nigeria, by the NCC for failing to disconnect 5.1 million unregistered SIM cards from its network – a development that was termed a threat against national security.
President Buhari assured Nigerians at the session that his administration’s war against corruption will continue to be vigorously pursued.
He pledged that more persons who have abused the public trust will be exposed and brought to justice soon, adding that his government was committed to re-establishing former standards of accountability and probity in the management of public funds which were jettisoned under past administrations.
He also appealed for more patience and understanding from Nigerians as his administration takes steps to safeguard the economy from the shock of falling oil prices.
“In the face of our new economic reality of dwindling oil prices, there are a number of things we can really do without to preserve our economy.
“We must develop the capacity to feed ourselves and we should be spending our resources on real development projects, not luxuries”, President Buhari said.