A bloody exchange of gunfire between some operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and suspected Niger Delta militants has led to the death of three members of the gang while two officials of the corps were injured.
During the incident which took place along the Snake creeks in Nembe, Bayelsa State, many of the suspected hoodlums, who reportedly attacked the NSCDC personnel were said to have fled with gunshot injuries.
Security operatives have recently become the targets of militants and sea pirates in the Niger Delta region, leading to the death of at least 10 soldiers and naval officers in the last one month.
Confirming the latest attack, Mr. Desmond Agu, Commandant of the NSCDC in the state, noted that his men were on patrol when they came under fire from the suspected criminals.
“NSCDC personnel, while on patrol along Snake creek within Nembe creeks, came under heavy attack from the criminals operating along that axis. After the ensuing gun battle, three of the assailants were killed while the rest escaped with gunshot injuries.
“Two NSCDC personnel sustained minor gunshot injuries but have been treated and discharged from the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa,’’ Agu said yesterday.
On the security threats posed by the recent upsurge in the activities of the militants and fears that oil production in the region might end if the attacks continue, Agu stated that the NSCDC and the other security agencies were working seriously to ensure that threats are minimised.
“The militants cannot take over the creeks because that’s not possible. The nation belongs to all of us. We are talking about protecting Nigeria’s critical assets. We will make sure that in collaboration with the other agencies, the pipelines and other assets are protected.
“We are ensuring that this thing is minimised so that Nigeria can breathe. Nigeria depends largely on oil. On the destruction of pipelines, we are at red alert,’’ he added.
Other gains recently recorded by the security outfit, according to him, were the arrest of one Tama Emmanuel and two others along Azuzuama for masterminding the destruction of an Agip flow line at Ogbounbiri-Tebidaba.
According to the Commandant, a coordinated massive operation at an illegal bunkering den at Otuegwe 2, Ogbia forest, also led to the destruction of the site and arrest of 15 vandals.
“Those that are determined to make sure we do not sleep, let them look for something else to do. Nothing is in the pipelines except destruction and pollution. Right now, there are no fish and no farm. They blow pipelines and blame everybody else.
“The NSCDC, would not be deterred by the activities of the militants because Nigeria is bigger than individuals.
“The police, soldiers and navy are working together. Their attacks will not intimidate us. As a small child, it was illegal to possess arms, even Dane guns, now you have sophisticated weapons everywhere,” he lamented.
He commended the federal government for supporting the outfit, but added that ‘ like Oliver Twist, it’s never enough.
Agu also listed the arrest of one ‘General’ Yere, wanted for vandalising oil facilities in Pirigbene, Southern Ijaw; the destruction of over 400 illegal refineries and repelling several kidnap attempts by kidnappers and sea pirates attempting to invade communities in Sagbama as some of the successes recorded recently.
To ensure the motivation of the officers fighting the vandals in the creeks, the Commandant however called for the payment of the allowances owed them, stressing that the officers’ allowances haven’t been paid since the beginning of the year.