Vanguard (Lagos)

14 February 2013

Nigeria: FG Tasks Navy On Sea Robbers, Illegal Bunkering

THE Federal Government has charged the Nigerian Navy to flush out sea robbers and illegal bunkering from the nation's territorial waters.

This came as government acquired five new fast patrol boats for the Navy to enable its personnel intensify efforts in maritime security.

However, the NN said for it to dominate the vast expanse of the nation's territorial water and effectively combat the emerging security challenges in the maritime environment, it would need additional 40 boats of same class of boats.

Speaking at the commissioning of the patrol boats named OCEA and SHALDAG, Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, explained that the acquisition was done based on NN's ability to prove that it was capable of helping the nation detect criminal activities on the nation's waters, which she described as damaging to the country's resources in the maritime sector.

She said: "When the CNS came to me, we had a bargain which was the need to see results. You know, for us to put in more money, they must show results. He came with graphs and charge, showing what they are doing to reduce the illegal oil theft, the reason for which they need these patrol boats.

"So far, they are showing a capability to be able to help us detect criminal activities that is damaging the resources of this country in the maritime sector. And you know, Mr president is totally behind the Armed Forces. I am particularly impressed because when you see results, you are encourage to put more muscle and money behind it. So, all we are asking from them is more results"

In her key note address, Minister of State for Defence, Erelu Olusola Obada, noted that in spite of the the constraints militating against the navy's efforts to optimally discharge its statutory duty, especially in the maritime domain, it had been continued to do its best in safe-guarding the maritime assets.

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