Four days after the declaration of an end to the ceasefire on oil and gas facilities by the dreaded Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, has warned that personnel of the Nigerian Navy are battle ready, as always, to counter threats by militants, kidnappers, sea pirates, sea rovers and other maritime criminals.
Vice Admiral Ibas made the remark during a chat with journalists on Monday at the Naval School of Engineering, Sapele, Delta State.
Obviously discountenancing last Friday’s threats by NDA to resume lethal attacks on the nation’s economic assets, Ibas said Nigerians should be rest assured that the navy was always battle-ready to curtail criminality in the Niger Delta.
“Threats by NDA, threats by kidnappers, threats by sea robbers, sea pirates, threats by all criminals, of course, are threats that the Armed Forces of Nigeria have a responsibility towards containing.
Navy intercepts one million litres of alleged stolen diesel in Rivers“We do not wait until a threat comes from a particular group before the navy acts, so what we do is to protect lives and properties.
“Any threat, especially against the nation’s asset or nation’s individuals is taken seriously and the Nigerian navy will continue to do that which it has to do to protect the assets and properties of Nigeria.“I think it’s the navy’s responsibility to secure the maritime territory of Nigeria as well as bad waters,” he noted.
The naval boss recalled the feat his men achieved through strategic deployment of personnel and military hardwares at the peak of previous hostilities in the creeks of the region.
Speaking on the choke-points regime introduced to curtail criminality in the waterways, the CNS confirmed that houseboats and military hardware have been deployed along coastlines and the operation was yielding tremendous dividends.
“You’ll recall that at the height of the sea robberies and vandalism of the nations critical assets, especially those caused by vandals, the navy had to deploy a strategy of choke-points regime and if you know what the maritime environment looks like, basically it could be thousands of creeks and estuaries that empty into the Atlantic Ocean, these roads provide access to criminal elements.
“What we have attempted to do was to put in place these measures to ensure that we confine the movement of these criminals.“I want to believe that our strategy has yielded a lot of results.
This, of course, is confirmed by the IOCs who have also been able to have increased and enhanced oil production levels.
“Ours is to ensure we carry out measures that will reduce criminality in the maritime environment,” he disclosed.
On piracy, the naval boss said the navy was doing quite a lot to ensure that security was provided for those who do legitimate businesses in the maritime environment of the country.
He noted further that with the choke-point regime, the presence of the navy was diligently tailored towards reducing challenges at the sea, adding that the navy’s presence has reduced the incidences of pirates at sea.