Navy: How we defeated pirates, oil thieves on Lagos waters

The Nigerian Navy (NN) has attributed the decrease in maritime crimes around Lagos waters to the termination of sea blindness.

Flag Officer Commanding (FOC), Western Naval Command (WNC), Rear Admiral Fergusson Bobai stated this on Friday during a tour of units and formations under his command.

Bobai who acknowledged the drastic reduction of crimes within western waters, said the criminals were aware that they were being monitored real time through the Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC) and Falcon Eye facilities.

He said, “Before now, we were a bit sea blind. We could not see beyond our noses. But with the RMAC and Falcon Eye facilities, we can see real time what is happening in our domain. So, we have used that to our advantage.

“The moment we pick up illegality, we deploy vessels to the place and identify the exact spot and arrest the culprits. The people are now aware that we can see them, and so, they are keeping off to avoid being arrested.

He commended the Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas for his commitment to better personnel welfare, attributing the newly constructed gym, upgraded Junior Rates’ Mess and Ratings Arcade at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) BEECROFT to the naval chief’s vision.

On his visit to the naval post at Tongeji Island and Forward Operations Base (FOB) Badagry, Bobai said the tours were preparatory to the CNS’ annual shore and sea inspections.

He urged the Ogun State government to provide access road in the island, noting that it would promote trade and commerce in the border community.

“We promised to renovate the only primary school in the island and we have done that. On the construction of access road, the navy can only discus with the relevant authorities saddled with the responsibility of providing such infrastructure.

“By way of doing that, I have mentioned it to the Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun when I visited. He said he was going to look into it. He has not been to Tongeji Island before and one of the obstacles preventing him is the fact that he has to go through Benin Republic.

“If the local or state government can take over the project, I believe that the political will is germane in realising the construction of access road in the island so that all beneficiaries can use the road to facilitate trade and commerce.

“There are some elements of crude oil in Tongeji Island and so, the Ogun State government should take a queue from its Lagos counterpart to utilise that opportunity and see how exploration can be taken there so that the state can begin to enjoy the benefits of an oil producing state.”

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