The Nigerian Navy has asked the Niger Delta militants to embrace dialogue and stop bombings of oil installations in the region.
The Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, (CNC), Rear Admiral Mohammed Garba, spoke Saturday when he led a medical outreach to Etegwe community, Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayelsa State.
Garba argued that if militants failed to embrace dialogue and continued with their criminal activities, they would lose public sympathy.
He explained that the free medical rhapsody was part of the Navy’s corporate social responsibility aimed at boosting civil-military relations.
Garba said, “I expect the people to remember that struggle is not drawing a line and make it look like a kind of crusading spirit. There must be ways of reaching compromises and concessions.
“And you can only reach those compromises and concessions through dialogue. The government has already given room for dialogue, so let them embrace it. If they embrace it, it is better for the society and Nigeria at large.
“But if they refuse to go into dialogue, there might be a tendency that that sympathy they are gaining from the people will be lost and it means they are now surrendering the call for peace to chaos and violence which is not good for the society.”
He noted that the medical mission was one of the key priorities of the Chief of Naval Staff to bring the navy closer to the people within the maritime environment.
He said the free medical mission was carried out monthly to test and treat health challenges of the people such as malaria, typhoid fever, high blood pressure, diabetes, among others.
Garba said: “It will be delightful to let you know that today is the sixth time we are offering free medical services to communities in Yenagoa and environs. The CNS is instrumental to the sustenance of this rhapsody every month.
“Navy is a part and parcel of the community. We feel we are blood brothers. So, one Nigeria is a vital issue to all the military personnel. That is why we feel that we must have a way of reaching the communities though this medical rhapsody and inauguration of projects.”
In his response, the Paramount Ruler of Etegwe community, King Todumema Geoffrey, said the free medical mission was the first in the history of the community.
The monarch asked youths to desist from pipeline vandalism and destruction of critical national assets, saying that such tendencies would not bring development to the Niger Delta region.
“We want to appreciate the Navy for the gesture. I want to warn those involved in blowing up pipelines and other criminal activities to desist from such acts. They are uncalled for. We need development in our region,” he said.
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