Nigerian Air Force, NAF, and Navy have re-strategised for a combined effort to combat illegal activities along the Nigerian water ways.
According to a statement yesterday by the Air Force Director of Public Relations, Air Commodore Dele Alonge, they took the stand during a recent joint maritime operation code named ‘Operation Saukan Mikiya.’
Alonge said with this, the illegal activities, which include crude oil theft and pipeline vandalism that often result to environmental pollution, loss of lives/property and huge losses in accruable revenue to the Federal Government of Nigeria, would soon become a thing of the past.
He said the 2 days operation was held on 3-4 September around Port Harcourt, Brass River, Bonny River and seawards up to the Exclusive Economic Zone, EEZ.
The statement further stated that during the exercise, which will occur regularly, the Nigerian Navy deployed some patrol boats along the creeks of Bonny and Brass Rivers.
NNS Centenary and NNS Okpabanna were also positioned at the entry points into the rivers respectively to monitor and block suspicious vessels within the creeks and the high sea.
While, the NAF using its ATR 42 Maritime Patrol Aircraft was tasked to locate suspicious vessels within the creeks and high sea as well as to report positions, names and other details to NNS Okpabanna, which was the air control ship for the exercise.
The statement explained that the overall objective of the exercise was to enhance the security of Nigerian coastal resources and off shore interests by assessing the capabilities of the NAF and NN in terms of monitoring and apprehending erring vessels which are essential components of maritime security.
Continuing, he said, “at the successful completion of the exercise, the much needed synergy between the NAF and NN was achieved as visual contact and communication were established with NNS Okpabana and NNS Centenary.
“The NAF ATR 42 also monitored from the coast into the sea, using Aeronautical Information System, AIS, to view into high sea up to EEZ.
“The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadiq Baba Abubakar assures Nigerians that despite the serious involvement of the Nigerian Air Force in the war against insurgency in the North-East all necessary support to stamp out illegal activities along the Nigerian water ways by the Nigerian Navy would be given as the need arises.”

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