From Judex Okoro, Calabar
In its continued fight against oil theft and other criminal activities, the Nigerian Navy said it has mounted surveillance on 37 creeks in the Niger Delta region.
Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, who made this known when he inspected facilities in formations under the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) in Calabar, yesterday, said the Navy would continue to introduce measures to ensure the security of the maritime domain in the country.
“We have over 6, 000 creeks and rivers in the Niger Delta and other parts of the country generally. We have been able to identify about 37 of them that are navigable.
“These are where criminal elements use for their transit. It is those 37 creeks that we have made plans to man by placing ‘House Boats’ to serve as checks on the activities of these criminals.
“In Calabar, generally, we are happy with the security situation. We want to believe that if you are able to rout the criminal activities on land and you have those elements venturing into the sea, we should do same.
“The Calabar River is one of the rivers we have identified but the priority given to it is not as much as those given to the rivers and creeks in Delta and Bayelsa states.
“The emphasis is to ensure that we place those measures in the other states before we get to Calabar. I want to believe that before the second quarter of 2017, we would have taken over dominance of the creeks and rivers that we have identified,” he said.
On the relationship between Navy and civilians, Ibas said: “In the past, we have had issues with some of our civilian relations and friends. We have told ourselves that everyone of us in a way has a civilian relative or friend. Ours is to protect all Nigerians and not to have issues with them and that is what we are preaching as we go around.”
During the tour, Ibas unveiled a furnished hostel complex built by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Limited at the Navy Secondary School in Akpabuyo and two blocks of nine classrooms constructed by the Flag Officer Commanding, ENC, Rear Admiral James Oluwole.