The Nigerian Navy on Wednesday took possession of 50 assault gunboats and drones to tackle crime and criminality in the country’s Maritime domain
The gunboats and other platforms donated by Aiteo Global Group are 21 gunboats, 14 operational patrol boats, 7 house boats, 4 air boats, 4 high speed interception inshore patrol boats, long range surveillance drones and 6 high definition cameras.
Speaking while receiving the equipments in Port Harcourt, Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, said the hardware would be deployed to the creeks to fight oil theft, piracy and sea robbery.
He said the donation was the manifestation of months of collaboration with critical maritime stakeholders to support naval operations.
His words, “The delivery of these platforms and assets aligns with the provisions of the Nigerian Navy 2021-2030 strategic plans on inter-agency and sub-regional cooperation.
“This is a milestone in our collaborative engagement with corporate maritime stakeholders to rid the nation’s maritime environment of criminal elements and economic saboteurs.
“To this end, these platforms will enhance the navy maritime security architecture and bolster our maritime security operations effort”.
While commending Aiteo for the donation, Vice Admiral Gambo sought support of other corporate organisations, to enable the navy to deploy more gunboats and halt the growing criminal activities in Nembe Creek Trunkline area of Bayelsa.
Minister of Defence, Maj.-Gen. Bashir Magashi (rtd.), in his address at the occasion disclosed that the nation’s maritime environment accounted for about 70 per cent of Federal Government revenue.
He said the government was concerned about rising activities of oil thieves, illegal bunkers and pipeline vandals which constitutes a great threat to the nation’s revenue generation.
Magashi said, “More worrisome is the fact that sustained oil pipeline vandalism has led to environmental degradation in the Niger Delta, resulting in agitations in the region.
“This underscores the need to employ a robust protection and defensive measure that would encompass the surveillance, monitoring and prompt interdiction of potential threats,.
Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor said the new platforms would be deployed to complement other internal security operations across the country and gave assurance that the boats would be used for its set objectives of securing lives and property particularly the nation’s oil and gas installations.
Also Speaking, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State who wad represented by the Secret art to the state government, Dr Tammy Dagogo Jack thanked Aiteo for donating the equipment noting that the state government also donated gunboats, patrol vehicles and other assets to security agencies in the past as part of commitment to protecting lives and property in the state.
Chief Executive Officer of Aiteo, Mr. Benedict Peters, said the company decided to donate the equipment to the navy due to frequent attacks on critical oil and gas facilities by vandals.
Peters, who was represented by Mr. Andrew Oru, a Director in the company said, “We know that the Nigerian Navy stands in the best position to address this menace if adequately equipped and supported.
“Consequently, Aiteo resolved to maximally lend its hands of fellowship by handing over these operational support equipment to enable the navy to secure the waterways and facilities”.