– Militancy in the Niger Delta region has been a source of worry to Nigeria

– The US and Nigeria discussed how to achieve peace in the region

– Nigeria was also commended for the  success recorded against Boko Haram

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Plans to end militancy in the Niger Delta region was the focus of discussion between Nigeria and the United States between American national security adviser, Susan Rice and Nigeria’s national security adviser, Maj-General Babagana Monguno (rtd) at the White House. President Muhammad Buhari is in the US to attend the United Nation General Assembly alongside delegates from the country and the two security advisers used the opportunity to discuss opportunities to expand cooperation between the United States and Nigeria.

Vanguard reports that the two countries exchanged views on how to achieve an immediate and peaceful resolution to the conflict in the Niger Delta region especially the destruction of oil and gas pipelines by militants. Rice also commended Nigeria for the success recorded in the fight against Boko Haram and said Nigeria should focus on defeating the group militarily. The security adviser advised Nigeria to establish good governance and providing basic services in regions liberated from Boko Haram.

Meanwhile, about 23 militants and criminals were confirmed dead by Nigerian soldiers during a recent Operation Crocodile smile military exercise in Niger Delta. Reports credited to the News Agency of Nigeria have it that 55 assorted weapons were also seized from suspected criminals during the operation by the Nigerian troops deployed to restore sanity to the region. Speaking on this recent development, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 82 Division, Enugu, added that many of the criminals left with series of injuries during the attack, adding that 38 camps belonging to the militants and 91 illegal refineries were destroyed as well within ten days.

During a chat with newsmen in Abuja, he said: “The precursor operations were followed by `Exercise Crocodile Smile’ proper, which was orchestrated and conducted with sequencing and lines of operation to upgrade the skills, expertise and competence of the troops in land and riverside environments.

“Over 3,000 soldiers were deployed along two axis on land, creeks and the general littoral area of the Niger Delta region, while forward-operating bases were established from where operations were conducted along the creeks and littoral area.” While regretting the death of four soldiers during operation, the GOC noted that they seized the opportunity to cement relations with civilians through humanitarian services in neighbouring communities.

“Books, stationeries and generators were donated to some schools while others were given facelift and infrastructure improvement,” he added. This news is coming following reports by the Nigerian troops that they have nabbed Victory Benjamin, a high ranking militant kingpin in Cross Rivers state.