A batch of naval personnel attached to the Operation Safe Haven of the Nigerian Army has returned to base from the theatre of conflict.
While receiving them in Lagos on Tuesday, the flag officer commanding, Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Jason Gbassa, said the personnel will undergo a trauma therapy session before reuniting with their family.
“Today as we are receiving this set another set took off to go to the frontline”, Gbassa told journalists while receiving the personnel.
“After receiving these personnel, we are going to keep them to undergo post-conflict stress management for a week, and then they will be released to reunite with their families for two weeks”.
He added that the personnel will resume work after reuniting with their families to face their national assignment.
Operation Safe Haven is a special military task force set up to maintain peace in Plateau State.
The Armed Forces Command and Staff College Jaji in Kaduna State has conducted a special training course for a total of 235 junior military officers on counter-terrorism and peace support operations.
The training which involved the Army, Air Force and Navy, was aimed at equipping them with the necessary skills to function as Grade-Three Staff Officers and Junior Commanders in their various military services and organisations.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony on Saturday, the Chief of Naval Staff, Rear Admiral Awwal Gambo, noted that the training became necessary as a result of the myriad of security challenges confronting the nation.
He also noted that the challenges require effective training of officers and men in the art of counter-terrorism, peace support operations and disaster management.
Among those who participated in the training were also allied officers from Liberia, Ghana, Gambia, Cameroun, Sierra Leone, and Benin Republic.
Addressing the officers, Rear Admiral Gambo, urged them to apply the skills learnt from the college in the ongoing war against terrorists in the northeast, bandits in the north west and north central as well as other related crimes across the country.
The Naval boss also reminded them of their expected roles in the realisation of the Federal Government’s Change Agenda and war against terror.
Speaking further, he asked them to imbibe the cardinal virtues of a soldier which include discipline, team spirit, time management and self-confidence among others.
Men of the Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base in Igbokoda, Ondo State have arrested 24 illegal oil bunkering Suspects in Abereke, a riverine community in the oil-producing Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.
The Commanding Officer of the Naval Base, Captain Shuaib Ahmed who briefed journalists on Sunday said the suspects were arrested on January 12 by a patrol team at sea along Ondo-Lagos route offshore Mahin.
Ahmed said the patrol team apprehended the suspects with six boats containing thousands of litres of Automotive Gas Oil otherwise known as Diesel Oil, empty drums, empty GP tanks, pumping machines, outboard engines and generating sets.
He appealed to the general public, especially the communities where the base operates to assist in providing meaningful Information in curbing all forms of economic sabotage like crude oil theft, illegal bunkering and crimes such as kidnapping and piracy.
Speaking to Channels Television, two of the Suspects, Joseph Ayeni and Kayode Omotehinse confessed to committing the crime.
They regretted their actions and pleaded for forgiveness, saying they were driven into the crime due to unemployment.
Also, some residents of Abereke community who spoke to Channels Television condemned illegal bunkering.
They, however, appealed to the government to provide job opportunities for the youths to prevent them from getting involved in criminal activities.
The naval chief praised the efforts of personnel during the attack which according to him “allowed personnel of sister services and paramilitary then based in Baga to withdraw safely including many civilians.”
He also revealed that two years after the dislodgement, some personnel are still missing in action, but assures that the faultlines that led to the overrunning of the base have been studied and corrected to avoid a reoccurrence.
The Nigerian Navy has handed over four suspected oil thieves to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Rivers State.
They are Ebenezer Afonka (captain), Bernard Umor (engineer), Kingsley Monday, and Ishmael Willy, the EFCC Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed in a statement.
The Port Harcourt Zonal Office of the anti-graft agency received the suspects from the navy on Tuesday alongside a vessel – MV Captain Samuel.
Commander S.G. Muhammed, who handed over the suspects and the vessel, disclosed that they were arrested on October 24 by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder for their alleged involvement in illegal oil bunkering.
At the time of arrest, he noted that the vessel was laden with an unspecified quantity of substance suspected to be illegally refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO), also known as diesel.
The representative of the Head of EFCC Port Harcourt Zonal Office, Tasui Abubakar, received the suspects and the vessel on behalf of the commission.
Abubakar, who is also the Head of the Counter-Terrorism and General Investigation (CTGI), assured the navy that justice would be served on the matter.
Uwujaren noted that the EFCC had begun investigating the suspects and would charge them to court upon the conclusion of its probe.
This comes a day after a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State convicted and sentenced six foreigners and a Nigerian to seven years imprisonment for oil theft.
Justice Kolawole Omotosho gave the sentence after three years of prosecution of the convicts by the EFCC.
The convicts included Mohammed Ejaz and Nasser Khan – Pakistanis; Oleksandr Nazarenko and Oleksandr Kashernvi – Ukrainians; Romeo Annang – Ghanaian, Fredrik Omenu – Indonesian; and David Otuohi – Nigerian.
As part of efforts to stem the tide of criminal activities in the maritime sector, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and the Nigeria Navy have agreed to review their strategies.
This resolve was expressed on Monday, September 21, 2020 during a courtesy visit by the Zonal Head of the Lagos office of EFCC, AbdulRasheeed Bawa, to Commodore Ibrahim Aliyu Shetima, Commander, Nigeria Navy Ship, NSS BEECROFT, Apapa Lagos.
Speaking during the visit, Bawa said: “The EFCC has the mandate to prosecute arrested suspects for illegal dealings in petroleum products and other maritime-related crimes and it has lived up to its billings. We will continue to curtail the activities of the criminals in the maritime industry”.
Bawa, who conveyed the regards of the acting Chairman, Umar Mohammed, to Shetimma, acknowledged the existing cooperation and working relationship between the EFCC and the Navy.
The Lagos Zonal Head, who used the occasion to officially introduce himself to the Commander, also sought a more robust collaboration and deepening of the existing working relationship.
Bawa, who also gave an update on the progress of the cases handed over to the EFCC Lagos Zonal Office, added that “We have recorded a 90 per cent success rate in our cases in court.
“Out of the 46 cases handed over to the Commission in the course of the collaboration, 22 of them have been completed successfully, including 17 vessels and their products forfeited to the Federal Government after diligent investigation and prosecution, while 18 others are at advanced stages of prosecution in various courts”.
Bawa further expressed the readiness of the Commission to look into whatever challenges that might be hindering the speedy prosecution of suspects over illegal oil deals, adding that “the Commission would continue to strategize and be more proactive in the investigation of cases handed over to it so as to ensure that products in the vessels are evacuated promptly.”
Earlier, Shettima had expressed his gratitude over the visit, saying, “This visit could not have come at a better time. I am impressed by the progress the Commission had made so far on the prosecution of maritime-related offenders.
“We appreciate your efforts and timely intervention in the evacuation of suspects and prompt prosecution.
“Globally, maritime resources are important and Nigeria is not an exemption. We must continue to work together to protect the industry and curtail the activities of the criminals.”
The Nigerian Navy has commissioned a 40-bed capacity isolation centre in Lagos.
The isolation centre which is fully equipped was on Monday declared opened by the Flag Officer Commanding, West, Rear Admiral, Oladele Daji, who represented the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ette Ibas.
The centre is located at the Naval Dockyard on Victoria Island, and the exercise is part of its 64th Anniversary commemoration.
The Nigerian Navy has arrested 10 pirates who were reported to have attacked a Chinese Vessel, MV Hailufang (II).
This was disclosed in a statement issued by the Commander NNS BEECROFT, Commodore IA Shettima, on Monday.
According to Shettima, the vessel was attacked on May 15 by pirates of the coast of Cote de Viore.
Thereafter, they took control of the vessel which had 18 crew members comprising Chinese, Ghanaians and Ivorians, and directed it towards Nigerian Waters.
“The Nigerian Navy was alerted of the pirate attack and immediately, the Nigerian Navy Ship NGURU was dispatched to intercept the vessel.
“On interception of the vessel at about 140nm south of Lagos Fairway Buoy, the pirates refused to comply to the orders of the Navy Ship, hence the Nigerian Navy had to conduct an opposed boarding of the vessel. All ship crew were safely rescued, while the 10 pirates were arrested,” the NNS Commander stated.
He added that it is pertinent to note that the last five known or documented pirate attacks were outside of Nigerian waters, of which the Nigerian Navy has responded in the interest of Regional Security.
“This is aptly captured in the NN Total Spectrum Maritime Strategy ‘which covers Nigeria’s outermost maritime area of interest, encompassing the entire West African waters and the GoG,” Shettima said.
According to the Navy boss, this underscores the need for increased regional cooperation in terms of information sharing and further deepening of our response capability.
He noted that for instance, the latest rescue effort was bolstered by additional intel received from the Beninous Navy during the operation.
“This also emphasizes the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral IE Ibas commitment to ensuring maritime security within Nigeria’s maritime space and the Gulf of Guinea in general,” Shettima added.
Meanwhile, he used the opportunity to warn the criminal elements that engage in any acts of maritime crime within the Gulf of Guinea to desist, noting that the Nigerian Navy has the capability and will power to deal with such perpetrators.
The Commissioner of Police in Ogun State, Mr Kenneth Ebrimson, confirmed the incident to Channels Television in a telephone interview.
He explained that men of the Ogun State Police Command were immediately drafted to the market to forestall any breakdown of law and order.
“When I got the distress call, I had to mobilise my available men to ensure that there is no reprisal.
“I have contacted the military authorities to trace the actual identity of the military officers involved and I was told that the military officers came there at the instance of the security of the market,” Ebrimson said.
He added that the police have begun investigations into the incident with a view to bringing the culprit to book while the remains of the victim have been deposited at a morgue in Sagamu.
The police commissioner decried that it was the second time in the less than five months that the military personnel deployed in the market were accused of extra-judicial killings.
The first was during the Isheri Day celebration which held in August at the Isheri Olofin town – located adjacent the Kara market – where three people were alleged to have been killed by soldiers while the investigation into the matter has yet to be concluded.
Ebrimson described Saturday’s incident as “a very sad event” and called on the military authorities to put measures in place to prevent a reoccurrence.
He condemned the deployment of soldiers in the market, stressing that no security situation in the area was beyond what the police could handle.
The police commissioner said, “I don’t know the reason for deploying soldiers into Kara market. We have the Ibafo Police Station, Ojodu Abiodun Police Station; we have Mowe Police State.
“So, I don’t see any security challenge in that axis that we cannot contain. What we are trying to do now is to actually identify the soldiers that were deployed there, whether legally of illegally so that they can account for their misdeed.”
A Saudi air force trainee opened fire Friday at a US naval base, killing three people before being shot dead by police, with the Saudi king quickly offering his condolences to President Donald Trump.
The shooting, which took place in a classroom building at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida, left eight people injured including two sheriff’s deputies who responded to the attack.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said the shooter was from Saudi Arabia — the same nationality as 15 of the 19 men involved in the 9/11 attacks, some of whom attended flight school in Florida.
“There’s obviously going to be a lot of questions about this individual being a foreign national, being a part of the Saudi air force and then to be here training on our soil,” DeSantis told a press conference.
“Obviously the government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for these victims. And I think they are going to owe a debt here given that this is one of their individuals.”
Commanding officer Timothy Kinsella said the shooter — whose name authorities declined to release — was an aviation trainee, one of “a couple hundred” foreign students present at the base.
“King Salman of Saudi Arabia just called to express his sincere condolence sand give his sympathies to the families and friends of the warriors who were killed and wounded in the attack that took place in Pensacola, Florida,” Trump tweeted.
“The King said that the Saudi people are greatly angered by the barbaric actions of the shooter, and that this person in no way shape or form represents the feelings of the Saudi people.”
Police received their first call about the shooting shortly before 7:00 am (1200 GMT), Escambia County Sheriff David Morgan said.
One of the responding deputies eventually killed the attacker, who used a handgun.
“Walking through the crime scene was like being on the set of a movie,” Morgan said. “You don’t expect this to happen.”
Kinsella said the base’s security forces first responded to the shooting before outside police agencies arrived.
The facility, made up mostly of classrooms, was shut down until further notice.
Witnesses described a chaotic scene as police rushed to respond.
Federal agencies are investigating, authorities said, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Military rarely targeted
Just two days earlier, a US sailor fatally shot two people and wounded a third at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard in Hawaii before taking his own life.
The Pensacola naval air station hosts 16,000 military personnel and more than 7,000 civilians, and is home to a flight demonstration squadron.
It is an early training center for naval pilots, and is known as the “cradle of naval aviation.”
The base is the center for the US Navy foreign military training programs, established in 1985 specifically for Saudi students before being expanded to other nationalities.
Saudi Arabia has long been a major US ally in the Middle East, thanks primarily to security considerations and oil.
While mass shootings in the United States are common, those at military facilities are rare.
In July 2015, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez carried out an attack at two military installations in Tennessee that killed four Marines and a sailor, with the FBI concluding that the violence was inspired by a “foreign terrorist group.”
Two years earlier, Aaron Alexis killed 12 people and wounded eight others at the Washington Navy Yard, just two miles (three kilometers) from the US Capitol building, before being shot dead by officers.
Four years before that, Major Nidal Hasan, a US Army psychiatrist, killed 13 people and wounded more than 30 others at Fort Hood.
He was considered a “lone wolf” who supported terror network Al-Qaeda.
Supporters of tighter gun laws seized on the latest shooting.
“Our veterans and active-duty military put their lives on the line to protect us overseas — they shouldn’t have to be terrorized by gun violence at home,” Cindy Martin, a volunteer with the Florida chapter of Moms Demand Action whose daughter works at the naval base, said in a statement.