The new Flag Officer Commanding, Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, has warned commanders, officers and ratings of the command against aiding and abetting criminalities in the course of their operations.
Suleiman gave the warning yesterday while taking over the mantle of leadership at the Central Naval Command headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital.
The former Chief Staff Officer, Naval Training Command, Apapa, Lagos State, took over from Rear Admiral Stanley Ogoigbe, who has been transferred to the Nigerian Navy headquarters, Abuja.
In his address at the ceremony, Suleiman urged the Naval personnel within the command’s area of responsibility to be totally committed to their work.
He said, “I want to reiterate here that naval personnel should work with the right attitude. They should be committed to their work to realise the mission of the Nigerian Navy and for the interest of Nigerians.
“For the commanders on ground, let me sound it loud and clear that the authorities of the Nigerian Navy will not tolerate any form of compromise on their part in carrying out their operations.
“Collaboratively, we are going to do the job set out by the Chief of Naval Staff without compromises. The Navy will not tolerate those who aid and abet criminal activities. The Nigerian Navy is paying all of us well and we must justify it and portray the force in good light. We must do our work well to achieve the mandate of the force in tackling illegalities.
“To my commanders, whether my seniors, subordinates and contemporaries, I urge you all to join hands with me to achieve our collective goals. We must put the interest of the force and Nigerians at heart at all times.”
He warned naval personnel against making premeditated mistakes, saying such mistakes would attract necessary sanctions.
In his remarks, the outgone FOC, Rear Admiral Stanley Ogoigbe, said during the time he held sway as the FOC, they tried their best to reduce oil-related theft in their areas of responsibility.
He said, “The CNC under me ensured that we made oil theft, breaking of pipelines and illegal bunkering, among others unattractive to criminals.
“We carried communities and stakeholders along in the fight against oil criminals. We understood the roles of stakeholders and we leveraged on that, hence we achieved great feat in the fight against criminalities.”
He urged officers and rating of the command to extend the cooperation he enjoyed to the new FOC so that mandate of the Navy in eradicating criminalities and illegalities would be achieved.
He expressed optimism that Suleiman is a round peg in a round hole, saying that both of them had known each other for close to 33 years.
“I urge all of you to cooperate with the new FOC to enable him to achieve his plans. His plans are those of the Nigerian Navy and they dovetail to achieving one of Nigeria’s common heritage, that is making sure that the sector where the country derives about 90 per cent income is not tempered with by criminals,” he stated.