Youths in the Niger Delta have commended the Joint Task Force (JTF), for the strategies deployed in fighting oil theft in region.
The youths, under the auspices of Niger Delta Youth Coalition for Peace and Progress (NDYCPP) said the strategies had saved the nation economic losses that would have run into billions on naira.
Mr Kennedy Tonjo-West, NDYCPP President and Special Assistant to the Governor on Niger Delta Youth Matters, made the assertion in an interview in Yenagoa.
Tonjo-West spoke on the sidelines of the handing over ceremony of the leadership of the taskforce.
He said that the effective and efficient leadership of Rear Admiral Suleiman Apochi, the outgoing JTF Field Commander, had curbed oil theft and vandalism of oil infrastructure in the past three years.
“Clearly the operations of the joint military taskforce have drastically brought about relative peace and safety on the waterways and other travel routes in the Niger Delta.
“This improved security is boosting business investments and other daily socio-economic activities.
“The zero-tolerance posture of the JTF regarding oil theft and criminality drives away would-be criminally minded persons.
“We should not be in a hurry to forget the turbulent period of criminal attacks on oil facilities and pipelines spearheaded by the Niger Delta Avengers in the past that greatly affected oil output.
“Insecurity in the region led to reduction in our earnings.
“We laud the gallant and untiring efforts of the JTF in maintaining law and order in the oil and gas sector of the economy in particular and the general society as a whole.
“We pray the good Lord to endow the outgoing field commander with fresh grace to serve our nation in his new posting as the Chief of Defence Administration, Defence Headquarters, Abuja,” he said.
He canvassed stronger collaboration between the youths and the incoming Field Commander, Rear Admiral Akinjide Akinrinade, so as to sustain the momentum of success recorded so far and improve on it.
“We solicit greater synergy with profiled youth bodies such as ours who have been strategic in intelligence gathering and peace-building efforts in the region over the years,” Tonjo-West added.