The Nigerian Army says its personnel of the 6 Division have discovered an illegal militia training camp at Nonwa Gbam (NYSC Orientation Camp) in Tai Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State.
This is barely 72 hours after the Ogoni Elders Forum accused the Federal Ministry of Environment of deploying troops to Ogoni communities ostensibly to provide “security services” for the clean-up and remediation. Aminu Iliyasu, a Colonel and Deputy Director of Army Public Relations, said the soldiers discovered the camp during a routine surveillance of the area.
“The troops met over 100 recruits undergoing military-type of training,” he said. “Preliminary investigations into the discovery have commenced in conjunction with sister security agencies in the state to fish out the sponsors of the militia and the training camp.”
He added similar illegal militia training camps were discovered and disbanded in Benue and Taraba states earlier in the year, and measures were promptly taken to forestall breach of security and safety of citizens. Meanwhile Governor of the state, Wike Nyesom, has reacted to the development, saying the Nigerian Army are now a political weapon against defenceless Nigerians.
He stated that the Army’s disruption of the training camp in Rivers State meant for Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency Training programme is the worst act of irresponsibility, aimed at instigating insecurity in the State. “The Army is not concerned about the killing of soldiers in Borno. They are only interested in creating insecurity in Rivers State,” he said. “If you don’t want Rivers State to be safe, then Nigeria will not be safe. They want to use their guns against us.” The Governor said that Zamfara and Kogi States have vigilante outfits, which were commissioned by the Army and the APC-led Federal Government. He wondered why the Army would stoop so low to disrupt a legal training exercise.
“All they are doing is to intimidate people for political reasons. When you fight a state blessed by God, you will crumble. Nobody can intimidate us in Rivers State.” Wike said the state government worked with the Police, the Department of State Services (DSS) and other federal agencies to ensure that only law-abiding citizens are recruited by the Rivers State Neighbourhood Safety Corps Agency.