Navy tackles crude oil theft, other security challenges in N/Delta

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•Builds pontoon, shore protection wall

IN its  resolve to  address crude oil theft and other criminalities bedevelling the Nigeria’s maritime space, the Nigerian Navy, NN, has procured floating pontoon and constructed Shore Protection Wall at the naval outpost Koluama II, a riverside community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, under the Central Naval Command.

Reports have revealed that crude oil and refined products worth $41.9 billion have been stolen in Nigeria since 2009.

The Nigerian Navy said the floating Pontoon and Shore Protection wall would enhance its operation.

The Chief of Naval Staff, CNS, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibass, while commissioning the infrastructure, said the outpost was conceptualised in order to increase the time on task for sustained naval deployments through emplacement of fighting units near the forward edges of the battle area.

He described the construction of the Pontoon and Shore Protection wall as a major transformation of the Naval Outpost, as it would increase its   capacity to withstand reasonable amount of natural environmental factors and also launch and recover her platforms.

The CNS who was represented by the Flag Officer Commanding Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Saidu Garba, said: “The Nigerian Navy has concentrated efforts towards expanding her operations in the Niger Delta to address the myriads of security challenges bedevilling the region such as crude oil theft, arms smuggling and piracy among others.

This necessitates the need for deployment of robust naval platforms to effectively combat these threats as well as the infrastructure to support maritime operation in the theatre.

“Realising the relevance of adequate facilities for enhanced operations, the Nigerian Navy recognised the need to urgently address issues of inadequate infrastructure. It is my firm belief that with the crucial role modern infrastructure plays in the maintenance of naval assets for enhanced naval operations, the provision of this infrastructure will promote more successes against all forms of criminality in the nation’s maritime space.

Therefore, the importance of commissioning these Pontoon and Shore Protection Wall for Naval Outpost Koluama II, cannot be over emphasised. It is only a step in our drive to become an efficient force capable of deploying against multiple threats while sustaining the Nigerian Navy’s combat ready posture”.

Earlier in his welcome address, Chief Staff Officer, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Solomon Agaga, noted that over the last few years, the Federal Government had shown its desire to tackle the unavailability of critical infrastructure across the country.

“Closely associated with it is the effort to provide better housing and other good infrastructure for the Nigerian Armed Forces. It is in realisation of this ambition that the Nigerian Navy embarked on the drive to provide adequate accommodations within her barracks in order to solve issues of  housing for her personnel. The commitment and leadership shown by the Chief of the Naval Staff Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas towards tackling this problem since he assumed command is highly appreciated.

“The Central Naval Command which is the youngest Command in the Nigerian Navy requires sustained effort to ensure that all her personnel are accommodated at the shortest possible time. Without mincing words, this event is a very important statement of intent towards providing befitting accommodations for all Nigerian Navy personnel serving in Yenagoa area”, Read Admiral Agaga said.

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