The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ibas, has warned against the renewed vandalism of oil and gas pipeline installations in the Niger Delta.
The Navy chief, who attributed vandalism and bombings to an act of impunity by some criminal elements in the area, advised them to shun the act in their own interest.
Abas gave the warning during a routine tour of the Central Naval Command at its headquarters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Thursday.
Speaking after a closed door meeting with officers and men of the command, the CNS said it was his responsibility to, from time to time, go round the various commands and establishments to see how they were faring.
On the rising cases of the bombing of oil and gas installation in the region, Ibas pointed out that the Nigerian Navy had brought to its ebb the activities of pipeline vandals and oil theft since January 2016.
He said, “What we have observed from last month is what appears to be criminal activities of some individuals. There is nothing in the Nigerian statutes that allows any individual to act with impunity.
“May I warn those involved in what I describe as economic sabotage to desist forthwith as the Navy would not hesitate to swoop on the perpetrators and their sponsors no matter how highly placed.
“The Navy will continue to carry out its constitutional duties in ensuring that the maritime space in Nigeria is safe and secured.
“Those who have legitimate businesses will be protected from the harassment of these criminal elements. That’s exactly what the Navy is poised to do.
“Our mandate has always been to ensure that our waterways are free from all encumbrances.”
On kidnapping, Ibas urged members of the public to cooperate with the Navy and other security operatives by providing useful information that could lead to the arrest of the criminals.
While noting that those who perpetrate the dastardly acts were not living in the blues, the naval officer said “they are our brothers and sisters. They stay with us. While the Navy is not expected to be everywhere at all times, we expect that we have cooperation from members of the public.”
He revealed that he recently inaugurated 25 gunboats in Port Harcourt, Rivers State to support Navy operations in the region, adding that more would soon be provided in the various creeks of the Niger Delta region.
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