The Niger Delta Avengers have claimed army chiefs of diverting funds meant for Operation Crocodile Smile.
Operation Crocodile Smile is a military exercise aimed at training the amphibious unit of the Nigerian Army and also secure the waterways in the Niger Delta region.
According to its spokesman, Brig. Gen. Mudoch Agbinibo,“Operation Crocodile Smiles is nothing but a conduit pipe for military contracts, political profiteers and patronages designed for the stress of your administration’s scarce resources. If it has any other purpose, it is satisfy the ego of a trigger -happy army chief, who killed over 800 Shiites just to have the right of way to a meeting even though there were other routes to his meeting.
“For the records, a depth of 2-3 fathoms in the Niger Delta region is likened to the waters our kids of ages between 3-8 years bathe and swim with crocodiles, alligators and other aquatic creatures in the mangroves/freshwater swamps of Niger Delta creeks.
“Mr. President, the worrisome dimensions about the ongoing reorganization and restructuring of the unending security operations in the Niger Delta is where two of your head of security apparatus are boasting to the Minister of Defense that they have your ears. They assured him, it is now their turn to bloat their pockets and that they can talk you to even borrowing money to sustain the insecurity in the region.
“We have earlier advised against timing, strategy and objectives of the show of military might and the deployment of military hardware to the Niger Delta suddenly when there is certainly cessation of hostilities for peace talks to commence. But the top hierarchy of the Nigerian military was only after pecuniary monetary gains and that of a ‘Champagne’ intelligence chief, who is desperately arm-twisting the peace processes continuously.
“The advice is that all lives matters! Why are you in a hurry to train over 2000 military personnel for just 4 to 14 days on amphibious military exercise to occupy the Niger Delta region when the Niger Elders and stakeholders are awaiting your response for peace talks? “Have you forgotten the exploits of our great fathers during the infamous Nigerian Civil War in amphibious warfare without any military training? Is it because they were volunteers that the success was credited to Late Lt. Col. Benjamin Adekunle and Lt. Col Olusegun Obasanjo, instead of them?
“Mr. President as a veteran of that fateful war, you know that after all failures, the amphibious warfare and successes were under the command of Lt. Gen. Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro of blessed memory, the pride and face of the 3rd Marine Commandos (3MCDOS) constituted of able-bodied Ijaw warriors voluntarily. They were not given any formal military training prior to that great contribution to the unity of Nigeria, but they succeeded because they were amphibious by nature.
“Mr. President, the truth be told, we are the ‘Great White Sharks of the Atlantic when it come to marine warfare! ‘Operation Crocodile Smiles’ is ironically, a simulative military operation cum exercise for waters less than 2 fathoms in depth orchestrated by the top hierarchy of the military to undermine any genuine disposition from your government towards restoration of tranquility in the Niger Delta and to exhaust your security budget for the year, except you are thinking otherwise towards peace in the Niger Delta too.
“We, the Ijaw and the people of the Niger Delta occurred here times immemorial. We have resisted, any attempt of exclusions in the control of our God- given resources, from the Portuguese and British colonial trades and periods to date. We are ever ready to continue that resistance even without guns and ammunition.”
The militants also alleged that the military officers are enriching themselves through the awarding of illegal contracts.
The militants also condoled with President Buhari over the death of the four soldiers who drowned in Bayelsa state.
“The high command of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) and the entire membership on behalf of the good people of the Niger Delta offer our condolences to the families and Mr. President, Muhammadu Buhari, Commander in – Chief of the armed forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, on the soldiers murdered in the ongoing military operation cum exercise codes named Operation Crocodile Smiles.
“Mr. President from available facts, the untimely deaths of these four (4) fine soldiers in the creeks of Bayelsa and another sixteen (16) that was recorded during the first four days of the exercise along the River Ethiope, in Delta state, but was earlier covered up is nothing more than act of murder.
“Their death is due to negligence, administrative greed and a corruption within the military constructed and perfected by the ascendant APC political class (conflict merchants we have mentioned times without numbers) from the Niger Delta and some Abuja paid and bought up interest.”
The Ijaw Youth Congress Worldwide spokesman, Eric Omare also accused soldiers attached to Operation Crocodile Smile of intimidating innocent civilians in the Niger Delta.