2 November 2018

Chad: Lake Chad Crude Oil Deposits, Arms Sales Denial, Prolonging Insurgency, Says Military Source

Abuja — Huge interests in crude oil deposits in the Lake Chad Basin; the refusal of some weapons manufacturers to sell arms to Nigeria and other entrenched schemes of some foreign nations are responsible for prolonging the war against terrorist group, Boko Haram, in North-east region, a top military source has told THISDAY.

This is coming as the Nigerian Army and their Cameroonian counterparts agreed to strengthen efforts aimed at eliminating the insurgents within their borders.

Also, a group known as Concerned Professionals' Congress (CPC) has endorsed "the fresh innovative military initiative of the recently launched 'Operation 777' being undertaken by the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Abayomi Gabriel Olonisakin, to restructure ongoing military operations and decisively tackle insecurity in the country.

The army source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said beyond the foreign interests, some non-government organisations (NGOs) made upfront payment for hotel accommodation for 10 to 15 years, indicating that backers of such organisations might have the knowledge that the war would not end in the next 15 years.

According to him, "If Nigeria starts her own oil exploration at the Lake Chad Basin, it would be against the French interest.

"The topography of the area where you have the crude oil deposits is towards Nigerian territory, and when Nigeria starts exploring it, the country will lose out.

"Some lecturers were taken to that area to conduct a survey on exploration, and on their way back, Boko Haram terrorists ambushed and killed all of them."

On difficulties encountered in accessing weapons to prosecute the war in the North-east region, the source lamented the inability of the government to access weapons.

He said: "Western nations have practically refused to sell us weapons.

Amnesty International has been filing monthly reports urging weapons manufacturers not to sell arms to us based on our poor human rights records.

"Have you wondered why United States had to sell us the 12 Tucano aircraft and decided to deliver it in 2020? Nobody has raised that issue, not even the National Assembly or journalists.

"We are used to the offers of training and promise to provide intelligence, which we are familiar with that, but what we need is the weapon to fight this war.

"Now look at this scenario. If you go to Maiduguri, foreign NGOs have booked all the hotels there, but here is the most interesting part, they paid to stay in these hotels in Maiduguri for 10 to15 years.

"How do you explain that? So they and their backers are working to ensure that the war never ends."

Meanwhile, the Nigerian and Cameroonian armies have agreed to collaborate in order to sustain joint military operations to end insurgency within the fringes of their common borders in the North-eastern part of Nigeria.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Texas Chukwu, made the disclosure in a statement in Abuja.

He said the acting General Officer Commanding, GOC, 7 Division, Brigadier General Abdulmalik Bulama Biu, expressed willingness to end the war when he paid an operational visit to a border location in Wulgo, Borno State, where Cameroon Defence Forces (CDF) battalion are deployed.

He enjoined the CDF troops to continue to collaborate and work assiduously with their Nigerian counterparts towards engaging and neutralising Boko Haram terrorists as well as other criminals in order to enhance the security of lives and property as well as restore lasting peace within their common borders.

The GOC explained that he was on a routine operational visit to the division's units sharing common flank with the CDF Battalion, charging the troops to be more decisive and not to relent in denying Boko Haram terrorists freedom of action as the dry season approaches.

He conveyed the appreciation of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lieutenant General Yusufu Buratai, to the CDF, and commended the excellent cordial relationship existing between the two forces particularly those stationed at Wulgo in Gamboru Ngala Local Government Area of Borno State.

Earlier, the CDF Battalion Commander Robert Bokwe, thanked the GOC for the visit, and conveyed the appreciation of the Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Bouba, whom he said referred to the acting GOC as a strong friend and brother.

He expressed delight at the cordial relationship existing between the two armies, and reeled out several joint military offensive clearance operations particularly Operation Deep Punch 2 and Almini Facat undertaken by both armies to rout Boko Haram terrorists from Sambisa and the Lake Chad region that were highly successful.

On 'Operation 777' being undertaken by the CDS, Olonisakin, to restructure ongoing military operations and decisively tackle insecurity in the country, the group, CPC, through its National Coordinator, Tukur Musa Tilde, and Chief Media Strategist, Emeka Nwakpa, in a statement issued in Abuja, said the acting Director of Defence Information, Brig. Gen. John Agim, who briefed journalists last week at the Defence Headquarters, said the new military operation which began on October 10, 2018, would run concurrently with existing operations.

The operations are: Whirl Punch in Abuja-Kaduna State axis; Delta Safe in Niger Delta; Awatse in Lagos-Ogun States; Safe Haven in Plateau and Bauchi States; Sharan Daji in Northwest and Kogi State, and Whirle Stroke in Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba States.

The group therefore called for increased public support for the Nigerian military, saying the huge gains recorded so far after the fresh initiative was introduced barely a few days ago were further proof of the resilience, gallantry, competence and innovativeness of the current military leadership to adequately combat emerging threats to national security, peace and stability.

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