The Nigerian Navy says it has deployed four warships for special patrols and surveillance of oil platforms and other national assets in the Niger Delta following recent increase of maritime illegalities that includes crude oil bunkering, piracy and siphoning that are impacting negatively on the nation’s revenue base.
Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette-Ibas who made the disclosure at a press briefing to herald the 61st Nigerian Navy Week Celebration in Abuja, noted that the number of ships deployed under the auspices of ‘Operation Tsare Teku’ have been increased sometime to five or six to curtail activities of economic saboteurs as the need arise.
Admiral Ibas who was represented by the Chief of Policy and Plans, Naval headquarters, Rear Admiral Henry Babalola noted that in furtherance of dominating the nation’s maritime environment and checkmating criminality, the Navy has established two naval outposts in Onitsha, Anambra state and in Baga, Borno State, “To adequately protect the Lake Chad area as part of the Maritime Component of operation Lafiya Dole”.
Emphasizing that fleet recapitalization is a top priority on the Navy under the current Navy leadership, Babalola said, “Accordingly, the Nigerian Navy adopted a double pronged strategy towards acquiring ships to carry out her role of defending Nigeria’s maritime territorial integrity and protecting the nation’s maritime interests.
“Notable among these achievements was the commissioning of NNS Unity, NNS Karaduwa, TUG CDR EE Ugwu and some locally built riverine patrol boats on December 2016 by President Muhammadu Buhari. Additionally, the period witnessed the induction of 150 patrol boats for riverine operations”.
Explaining the several operations conducted by the Navy towards bossing the maritime domain and protecting the nation’s economic assts, Babalola said, “Operation Eagle Eye” was launched between 1-5 December 2016 to checkmate the activities of pirates within the creeks of the Niger delta region.
“Exercise Obangame Express 2017” was conducted from 21-31 March 2017 with three naval ships and helicopter that participated in the exercise.
“Exercise Tsare Teku 1, 2, 3, and 4; Exercise Opia Toha; NEMO 1 and 2, Exercise Shark Bite, River Sweep 1 and 2 as well as multi-national exercises like Obangame Express and NEMO among others”.
Other operational achievements include launching of ‘Falcon Eye’ projects in Central and Eastern Naval Commands and Naval headquarters.
On activities lined up for the Navy week celebration, Babalola said there will be Juma’ah prayers and interdenominational church services to hold in all naval establishments on 26 and 28 May respectively.
Medical rhapsody would be conducted in Abuja area. From 27 May, there would be commissioning of projects. On May 29, being democracy day, ships will be open to visitors. This will be followed by a sea trip by designated navy ships on May 30th.
Disclosing that a seminar with theme ‘Repositioning the NN for Operational Efficiency through Human Capacity Development and Attitudinal Change’ will hold in Lagos to mark the 61 anniversary, Babalola said, “The last in the series of activities is the Ceremonial Sunset at Naval Dockyard, Wilmot Point, Lagos.”
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