The Chief of Army Staff, Taoreed Lagbaja, says the Nigerian Army under his watch will stamp out oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta region.
Mr Lagbaja gave this assurance during an interactive session with media executives on Wednesday in Ibadan as part of activities marking the 2023 Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL).
“The army will focus on the situation in the Niger-Delta region, just as it will not also lose focus on what is happening in other parts of the country in line with the mandate of the current government,” he said.
Mr Lagbaja said this was necessary since most of the country’s oil and gas infrastructure is in the South-South region, pointing out that 90 per cent of Nigeria’s revenue is from the sector.
He expressed concern that pipelines’ vandalisation and oil theft in the Niger Delta region have affected the country’s revenue generation, stating that urgent steps must be taken to curb the situation.
“The president has said that the nation is bleeding from all these. The money is not just there to do what we used to do in the past. This has led to the removal of oil subsidy and the floated exchange rate, while other reforms have also been put in place,” the army chief added.
He stressed that “riding on the ‘Renewed Hope’ agenda of the president, the Nigerian Army under my watch will stamp out oil theft and pipeline vandalism in the Niger Delta.”
The COAS further said he would not lose focus on banditry in the North-West.
”I know that people desire to go back to their farms and live normally as law-abiding Nigerians. We will work to defeat banditry and kidnapping, which are being operated freely in some communities,” he explained. ”We will therefore entrench there in the North-West the stability we have achieved in the North-East region.”