The Nigerian Navy, in a three-day operation, paraded all its gunboats, warships and other movable arsenals on waterways located within the Areas of Responsibility (AoR) of the Central Naval Command (CNC).
The navy in an apparent move to show its strength dominated the waterways with its presence and sent signals to oil thieves, kidnappers, pirates, pipeline vandals and other maritime criminals of its readiness to deal with them.
In the operation codenamed, “Exercise Projector”, the navy vowed to intensify its patrols, tackle all forms of economic crimes and fight illegalities in its operational areas in the Niger Delta region.
The Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Central Naval Command (CNC), Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman regretted that maritime crimes led to significant loss in revenue accruable to the government.
He also said that the damage of strategic oil installations had impacted negatively on the economy and security.
But he said the navy was capable of demystifying the creeks and dislodging miscreants from their hideouts.
“There shall be no hideouts for these miscreants anymore in short time in our operational domains”, he said.
He noted that the country had continued to look for permanent solutions to the challenges of illegal oil bunkering and pipeline vandalism in Niger Delta communities.
The FOC said the concluded exercise was a strategy ordered by the Chief Naval Staff, Vice-Admiral Ibok Ibas to identify the hideouts of criminals and flush them out.
He insisted that the exercise would suppress the activities of criminals whose actions had negatively affected the economy and the environment.
He said the zero tolerance to oil theft the Navy had maintained over time yielded positive results in the oil sector.
According to him the navy would embarked on regular patrols of waterways in its operational areas to block the entire maritime space to reduce criminalities in the creeks.
The FOC further said that the command acquired 15 gunboats to enforce to undertake operations in the Niger Delta communities and warned criminals and sea robbers to stay clear from its operational areas.
He said, “We are going to enforce the patrol of Niger Delta creeks, blocking the entire maritime space to reduce criminal activities and smoke criminals out from their hideouts.
“The Navy has decided to make the business of crude oil theft and the waterways unattractive for criminals.”
He, however, appealed for support from community heads, operators of oil companies asking them to report suspicious characters and activities to the command.
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