Dickson calls for expansion of Naval command in Bayelsa

Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson has urged the Nigerian Navy to expand its operations to cover the Agge axis in the Ekeremor Local Government Area by establishing a Forward Operating Base (FOB), just as he warned political office holders against undermining the contributions of security operatives in the sustenance of peace and national development.

The establishment of a Forward Operations Base in the Agge area, according to the governor has become imperative due to the nefarious activities of sea pirates and oil thieves on the waterways.

Governor Dickson, who made the plea on Thursday when the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa, called for an increased presence of the Nigerian Navy in the area where the proposed deep seaport is to be sited.

Expressing government’s preparedness to partner with the Nigerian Navy through the provision of infrastructure and improved capacity of the officers, Dickson said already, budgetary provisions have been made in next year’s appropriation bill to set up small bases in the western flank of the state to complement the efforts of the Navy towards checking inter-state banditry as well as the incidence of sea piracy, crude oil theft, illegal refineries and other criminal activities.

“As a matter of fact, in our budget estimate for next year, we have plans working with you people to set up small bases to assist you in increasing your capacity at Formoso at the western flank and also see how the Chief of Army Staff and yourself can work together to ensure that we have some presence of the Nigerian Navy by way of a Forward Operating Base at Agge area, which is the western flank.

“So, I will call for that collaboration. The Government of Bayelsa State is prepared to make our own contribution if there are areas we can contribute in terms of increasing your capacities and infrastructure in that Formoso area.

“Our thinking is that once we support you at the western flank and the eastern flank where you already have a base, we will be able to combat inter-state banditry and sea piracy,” he said.

Commending the Chief of Naval Staff for the innovations being introduced in the Navy, he expressed optimism that such measures would curb cases of infringement on the state’s territorial waters particularly crude oil theft.

The governor also lauded the Navy for offering to collaborate with the state government on the establishment of the Maritime academy towards the realization of the project.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba had said he was in the state to assess operational structures as well as evaluate requirements in the Cape Formoso and the new intension to create a ‘Type A’ base in Brass.

He said this innovation was relevant in the face of the dynamics of the security challenges in the country, adding that it was necessary to be proactive rather than reactionary in tackling security problems.

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