The Central Naval Command (CNC), yesterday intensified maritime patrols in the Niger Delta aimed at curtailing oil theft following the deployment of 15 additional gunboats.
The Flag Officer Commanding, (FOC), CNC Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman, averred that, his command got 15 gunboats out of 25 that was recently commissioned by Nigerian Navy.
Suileman said the increased surveillance operation was motivated by the support and resolve of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas whose 2016 policy directive entails ‘choke point strategy’.
According to the FOC, the Navy was now adequately equipped to stamp out crude oil theft, bunkering and pipeline vandalism, and to checkmate illegal activities within the maritime domain.
The Central Naval Command’s area of responsibility comprises of Bayelsa, Delta, Kogi, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Rivers.
Suileman who led the patrol said the Command is conducting frequent patrols in the shallow creeks aimed at degrading the bases of miscreants along creeks in its area of responsibility to suppress activities of criminals.
“Nigeria has over the years been confronted with challenges of curbing illegal oil bunkering, pipeline vandalism and criminal activities in the Niger Delta Region,
“These illegal activities have not only led to significant loss in revenue accruable to the government, but have also led to damage of strategic oil installations. It is impacting negatively on Nigeria’s national economy and security,” he stated.
He reiterated that CNC have declared zero tolerance on illegalities within the command’s area of responsibility and beyond.
He warned those involved in illegalities to desist from such acts and get involved in legitimate businesses or face the consequences of their illicit acts.