The Olu of Warri, His Royal Majesty, Godfery Ikenwoli has urged Nigerians, particularly indigenes of the Niger Delta, to support the efforts of the military to stem the tide of criminality in the region.
The paramount ruler of Warri kingdom made the call on Saturday when he received the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai, on a courtesy visit at his palace in Warri.
He said the call became necessary because of the need to cooperate with security agencies following the resurgence of militancy, kidnappings and other crimes in the area. Ikenwoli decried the resurgence of criminality that had caused further harm to the environment and the economy of the region.
The traditional ruler commended the strategy adopted by the armed forces of Nigeria to tackle emerging security challenges in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country.
He solicited for increased military presence in the Niger Delta to help restore order and sanity in the region, adding that the people were in support of all steps taken by government to revamp the economy.
“Our people are peace loving people and for many years have lived peacefully with people from other parts of the country but we are not weak.
“Recent developments occasioned by acts of kidnapping, militancy and other violent crimes have dragged us behind and further impoverished our people.
“This region has for decades produced the main stay of this nation’s economy and yet has nothing to show for it; this has been compounded by the activities of some criminal elements in our midst.
“I want to state here categorically that this kingdom commends steps taken by the military to contain criminality in our land and we will fully support their initiative.
“ I want to appeal to the military hierarchy to consider our request of increasing military presence in the region in the region, more Air Force, Navy and Army personnel should be deployed to assist the police to restore sanity in our land,’’ he said.
Ikenwoli urged Nigerians to be patient with the Buhari administration, noting that the rot of many years could not be fixed overnight.
He expressed confidence that the present military hierarchy would help restore peace and order in all troubled spots across the country.
Earlier in his remark, Buratai assured the paramount ruler of the military’s readiness to partner the people to address security challenges militating against development in the region.
He said the military would continue to work closely with law abiding citizens to ensure that normalcy was restored to the oil rich region.
Buratai assured the Olu that innocent citizens would not be deliberately hurt in the exercise and noted that the Army had taken adequate steps to sensitise the people about the Exercise Crocodile Smile.
It was gathered that a large number of persons including women and children thronged the major streets in Warri, Sapele and adjourning communities in Delta state to wave at the convoy of the Army chief.