IYN Faults Former Minister, Maj Gen Olarenwaju On Okuama Murders

The Ijaw Youths Network on Friday faulted a former Minister of Communication, Maj Gen Tajudeen Olarenwaju, on the grisly murder of 16 personnel of the Nigerian Army by Okuama youths on March 14, 2024, over a land dispute.

In reacting to the killings which shocked the entire country, the retired general fought hard to create a non-existent link between this crime against humanity and the collaborative protection of the nation’s oil pipeline between private security outfits, the military and security agencies.

The Ijaw Youth Network said that Gen Olarenwaju’s claim that it is unsafe for non-state actors to protect oil installations in the country at this critical time is curious and wrong.

The IYN in a statement by its Coordinator, Frank Ebikabo and Secretary, Federal Ebiaridor, said the general’s statement only reechoed the same misguided and false narrative being peddled by frustrated oil thieves and their cohorts who did not get the pipeline contract of the NNPCL.

The group said that the utterances of a man who rose to the rank of general and one-time Minister of Communication, should not bear semblance with those exploiting the disturbing death of our military personnel to push an obvious economic interest.

Frank Ebikabo and Secretary, Federal Ebiaridor, said that Gen Olarenwaju should be condoling the institution that produced him, the Nigerian Army, at its moment of grief and not to dabble into, or steer needless controversy.

The IYN leadership said that the General should be concerned about how to track down and arrest those who brazenly assaulted the collective peace, safety and security of this country.

The group said that the General cannot claim ignorance of the massive theft of the nation’s oil resources by a virulent cabal comprising Nigerians and their evil foreign collaborators which made Presidents Jonathan, Buhari and the NNPC explore the use of capable private security outfits to complement the efforts of the military and security outfits.

According to the IYN, the General is aware of the relentless pursuit of the oil thieves in the coastal waters and creeks of the Niger Delta with several arrests of rogue vessels in the region by Tantita Security Services Limited.

The group urged President Tinubu and the NNPCL to continue with the decisive policy against oil theft which has increased oil production and has been applauded nationwide, noting that no distraction deserves attention.

“The military assets of the country are already overstretched. Successive Presidents have engaged Private security outfits to fight Nigeria’s lethal scourge of oil theft. It is not unusual and it is a trend that is commonplace around the world.

“Even developed countries such as the US and the UK also employ the services of private security consultants to maximize security of critical assets and facilities.

“Before the renewal of the contract of Tantita Security Services, the general had not found it necessary to besiege the media space about the purported inappropriateness of engaging private security outfit to fight oil theft.

“Perhaps, the various feats accomplished by Tantita and the widespread recognition accorded to the company should convince the General that private security outfit does not constitute any danger to the security of the nation’s critical oil pipelines.

“What should be of concern to the General is the sad story of oil theft that made the President and the NNPCL seek a proactive response to the problem that threatened the nation’s existence.

“It is shocking that the General is reducing the cold-blooded murder of soldiers as a fallout of gang violence in the region. This is an attempt to twist the facts of the matter.

“There is no link between the private security outfits and the gruesome murder of soldiers on lawful duty. This rush to throw curious, unsolicited advice should be beneath him.

“His suggestion is a personal opinion inspired by a lack of understanding of the story of the nation’s oil sector or a classic case of selective amnesia.

“Such hurried viewpoints seem to suggest that some ingrained interest who are jolted by the gains of the campaigns of oil theft are at work.

“A General’s statement shouldn’t be in that direction,” the group said.