The Nigerian Navy said on Wednesday that it’s Special Forces through operations conducted by its bases and FOBs, cumulatively deactivated a total of 95 illegal refineries between January and May 2021.
This is aside another 477 illegal refinery sites deactivated between July and December 2020.
Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo made the disclosure in Abuja at a press briefing to flag off Nigerian Navy’s 65th anniversary celebrations.
Represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Navy, Rear Admiral Christian Ezekobe, the CNS said, “To appreciate this effort, from records, 477 illegal refining sites were deactivated between July and December 2020. This figure drastically decreased in the last 4 months (January – May) to 95.
He attributed “reduction in the number of illegal refining sites deactivated to the ongoing swamp buggy operations in the Niger Delta which makes it difficult for perpetrators to re-activate immobilized illegal refining sites”.
The CNS continued, “For instance, the NN denied criminal oil entrepreneurs about 128, 612 barrels of crude oil valued at about
N2, 598,219,624 and 15,317,150 litres of AGO valued at over N3 Million.
“Additionally, approximately 5,150 litres of PMS valued at about
N1 Million and 3,193,251 litres of DPK valued at about N606, 717,690 were impounded from criminals between January and 17 May 2021.
“The success of denying Nigeria’s economic saboteurs thousands of barrels and litres of crude oil and AGO and saving the nation billions of Naira could be attributed to the increased effort of the NN Ops Bases especially through Op River Sweep.
“Another key contributing factor to the success is the NHQ sensitization and directives to all Bases on zero tolerance to Crude Oil Theft and illegal bunkering activities.
On tackling piracy, the CNS said, “the Navy has deliberately instituted dedicated operations and initiatives to enhance its policing capability towards the peaceful use of the nation’s maritime environment.
“These initiatives have engendered several recorded successes in the operations of naval bases” noting “For instance, 13 incidents of piracy attacks were recorded from July – December 2020. However, as from January –May 2021, there were only 5 pirate attacks.
“The rate of pirate attacks has been on the decline from what was witnessed in the last half of the Year 2020. This is attributed to our increased number of hours and sustained presence at sea.
“The anti-smuggling operations are another critical area that the NN recorded success during the last 4 months. The NN through 2 key anti – smuggling operations, namely: Ops Tri-Partite Joint Border Patrol and Calm Waters has ensured round the clock presence and effective patrol of all identified hot spots of smugglers.
“From records, 91 Nigerian Navy ships clocked a total of 7,552 hours at sea during the period, leading to a significant decline of smuggling activities in our waters.
“Notwithstanding, 2 suspected rice smugglers, 2 smuggling boats and 7 vehicles cumulatively laden with 1, 842 bags of rice were arrested within the period under review.
“The Nigerian Navy Ship Lugard in Lokoja recently arrested 2 suspects with 16 bags of Cannabis Sativa weighing a total of 550kg.
“The suspected smugglers and their boats with products were handed over to the respective prosecuting agencies; referring to EFCC, NCS, NIS and NDLEA for further action. These achievements also reinforce NN drive towards eradicating rice smuggling in support of the FG policy on local rice production.
Regarding the Navy’s fleet holding, the CNS disclosed that apart from the recent arrival of the Hydrographic Survey Vessel NNS LANA on Monday 17 May 21 in Lagos, there is “renewed emphasis on fleet renewal by ongoing efforts for procurement of another 35 metres survey vessel and 3 Leonardo Helicopters.
“Also, in an effort to boost operations, the Service recently took delivery of 4C- Falcons interceptor boats for Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service.
“In addition, 90 Rigid Hall Inflatable Boats have been procured while the NN has continued to engage local companies such as Messrs Epenal, Tuwasco and SEWA to build platforms for the Service.
“This has not only enhanced local content development but facilitated capacity building in Nigeria’s maritime industry.
Importantly, all this would not have been possible without the continuous support of the FG under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Towards effectively addressing emerging challenges for improved operational efficiency, through articulation of new perspectives, the CNS said, “The NN promulgated a 90-Day Plan in line with Mr. President’s mandate which is basically aimed at ensuring quick impact deliverables towards operational efficiency and institutional rejig in the short term.
“In line with the Plan, the NN intends to establish 2 new Commands, E-Library in all NN Professional Schools and Career Guidance and Counseling Office in Naval Headquarters.
“Additionally, the NN plans to develop a Policy on Career Development for ICT and MDA Personnel, review and promulgate Officers’ Appointment Policy, construct access road for SBS Camp and NNSS/NNPS Kuje as well as fully computerize NN Personnel Management System.
“Other plans include the automation of Accommodation Information Management System, promulgation of Nigerian Navy Doctrine and acquiring of accommodations for immediate use by NN personnel amongst others.
On the 65th anniversary celebrations the COPP said, “the current security situation in the country and the recent FG directives on COVID-19 Pandemic have necessitated a review of the initial plan for the Celebrations to a low key, one to reflect the mood of the country.
“Today’s Press Briefing marks the beginning of events for the 65th Anniversary. This would be followed by Special Juma’at Prayers and Interdenominational Church Service scheduled to hold on Friday, 21 May 21 and Sunday, 23 May 21 respectively in all NN Commands. All Ships would also be dressed overall from Monday, 24 May – Tuesday, 1 June 2021.
“Additionally, a Medical Rhapsody and Naval Officers’ Wives Association Activities would simultaneously hold on Monday, 24 May 2021 in some NN host communities across Commands.
“An Inter-Command Swimming Competition is also scheduled to take place from Monday, 24 – Tuesday, 25 May 2021 at Nigerian Navy College Onne Swimming Pool, Port Harcourt while key NN Projects would be commissioned concurrently in all NN Commands on Tuesday, 25 May 2021.
“Another major event to be witnessed during the period would be the 2- Day Maritime Conference planned to hold from Wednesday, 26 – Thursday, 27 May 21 at Onne Port Multipurpose Centre at the Prodeco Camp, Onne.
“A Golf Tournament is equally slated for Friday, 28 May 21 at NNS Pathfinder Golf Course, Port Harcourt while a Sea Exercise and Debrief would hold from Saturday, 29- Monday, 31 May 21 at FOT Onne, Port Harcourt.
“Lastly, a Ceremonial Sunset is slated for Tuesday, 1 June 2021 at NNC Onne Parade Ground to mark the end of the week-long activities of the NN 65th Anniversary.
Importantly, let me stress here that all these events would be conducted strictly in accordance with all FG laid down COVID – 19 Protocols.