(Femi Folaranmi, YENAGOA)
The Defence Headquarters is set to change tactics in its operations in the Niger Delta region with the scraping of the Operation Pulo Shield (OPS). That operation would be replaced with ‘Operation Delta Safe’ (ODS). This comes in the face of a wave of relentless attacks on oil installations and the emergence of several militant groups in Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Imo and Akwa- Ibom States.
According to investigations, while the Defence Headquarters are impressed with Major General Gafar Alani Okunola for his efforts in combating crime and criminality in the Niger Delta region due to his zero tolerance for crude oil theft and illegal oil bunkering, the dimension of the on-going crisis spear-headed by the Niger Delta Avengers has made it imperative for operations in the Niger Delta to re-jig to tackle the threat of resurgence of militancy.
The appointment of Rear Admiral Joseph Osa Okojie as the new Commander of the ODS is a strategy for the new operations in the region. Okojie is the first naval personnel to be appointed as the Commander of the security outfit since its creation in 2003. Sources said with Okojie as the new helmsman, attention would be paid seriously to the threat posed by militancy.
Okojie has been holding series of meetings with top officers of the security outfit to explain the motive behind the change of name and the scope of the new operations especially as it concerns the activities of NDA and other militant groups clamouring for a Niger Delta republic.
Okunola (now the Commander in charge of Administration at the Force Headquarters) confirmed that the restructuring is aimed at fighting the illegality in the Niger Delta region and an improved security outfit can carry it out.
“As you all know the Operation Pulo Shield has been scrapped .And replaced with Operation Delta Safe. The restructuring is aimed at repositioning Niger Delta Force for improved performance.”
Okojie commended President Buhari for maintaining the unity of purpose in the in the military and sustaining the unity of Nigeria.