NAVY TO TREAT PIPELINE BOMBINGS IN NIGER DELTA AS TERRORIST ATTACKS – Ibas.
Following last weekend bombing of several gas and oil supply pipelines by militants in Delta State, the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ekwe Ibas said yesterday that attacks would be treated as terrorist attack by the Nigerian Navy rather than mere pipeline vandalism.
Describing the incidents as unfortunate, the CNS who spoke during a lecture he delivered to Course 24 participants at the National Defence College titled Nigerian Navy: Challenges and Future Perspectives’ noted that the Navy was not taking the sabotage it lightly, because the act was capable of undermining the Navy’s recent push in sanitizing the nation’s maritime sector.
His words, “The incident that just happened recently is rather unfortunate and of course that cannot be taken lightly by any serious nation and of course the Nigerian Navy is not going to take it lightly as well.
“We have made it clear that it goes beyond just mere vandalism for the purpose of making any gains; this is absolute sabotage, something that can even be termed terrorism.
“If the guys were doing that to derive benefit from the destruction then one will say it is vandalism but that is not the case”.
Admiral Ibas also advocated the establishment of special courts to address the menace of maritime crimes even as he explained that conventional courts had failed to arrest the situation.
Emphasizing that in the past, many of the suspects arrested by the Navy had oftentimes exploited lapses in the nation’s judicial system to evade prosecution, the CNS said, “Over 163 suspects were arrested by the Navy for various crimes and handed over for prosecution by relevant law enforcement agencies between Jan. and Dec. 2015.
“Experience has shown that suspects explore lapses in our judicial system to evade prosecution. We believe that the establishment of a special court or tribunal that is mandated to address all the outstanding cases with respect to the seizures and arrests made by the Navy will reduce the incidences of the illegality in the maritime sector”.
Speaking further, the CNS noted that his administration was working on enhancing the operational capacity of the Nigerian navy in line with his vision and the content of the Navy’s transformation plan.
While noting that the response capability of the Nigerian Navy was being enhanced by the acquisition of more vessels such as logistics ships, patrol boats among others, Ibas identified inadequate funding, poor industrial base, inadequate barracks accommodation for personnel and contemporary threats to maritime security as some of challenges militating against the actualization of the Navy’s broad objectives.