The House of Representatives has directed the Nigerian Navy to suspend the forthcoming pre-screening exercise for the shortlisted candidates with a view to strengthening the Federal Character law.
This is sequel to a motion of urgent public importance presented by representative Roland Igbakpa informing the House that all the successful candidates that are to report for training in 2 Batches at the Nigerian Navy Basic Training School Onne, Port Harcourt, Rivers State are all from a particular part of the country, which negates the Federal Character principle of all-inclusiveness, equity and fair play.
The House is also asking the navy to provide details of all recruitments from 2014 to date showing the geographical spread.
Furthermore, it mandated its committee on Navy to investigate the exercise and recommend appropriate measures to avoid similar constitutional violations in all future government recruitment and report back within 12 weeks for further legislative action.
The lawmakers are worried that since the recruitment supplementary list of 44 Candidates became public knowledge, it has created a lot of tension and apprehension.
Twenty-five officers of the Nigerian Navy Special Boat Service on Thursday completed a five-week Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) alongside a team of U.S. Army Special Forces.
The exercise is part of a series of U.S. engagements with the Nigerian military that provides opportunities for the Nigerian military and U.S. elite units to work together, learn from each other, and strengthen their relationships, the United States Mission in Nigeria said in a statement.
During the training, the American military trainers and the Nigerian Navyspecial operations forces trained together on a broad range of land-based skills and tactics, such as countering improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Delivering remarks during the JCET closing ceremony in Lagos, Acting U.S. Consulate Political and Economic Chief Merrica Heaton noted that the U.S. government works closely with all the services of the Nigerian military to provide technical assistance, equipment, and professional exchange and training opportunities.
According to her, the JCET is part of a close and continuous military partnership between the United States and Nigeria spanning decades to strengthen defense ties and promote regional security.
“The United States Mission to Nigeria is a steadfast partner — helping combat maritime crime in the Gulf of Guinea, counter violent extremists in the Northeast, and enforce the rule of law throughout the region,” Heaton said.
According to the U.S. Mission, the magnitude of this year’s engagements demonstrates the strategic importance of the United States-Nigeria bilateral relationship: the U.S. is delivering A-29 Super Tucanos as part of the largest defense sale to an African country; the United States Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps are scheduled for extensive programmes in Nigeria beyond pre-COVID levels.
These engagements build on a longstanding security partnership, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea, the statement added.
Nigeria participates in multiple bilateral and multilateral military exercises with the United States, including African Lion, Flintlock, and Obangame Express.
The U.S. and Nigeria cooperate on maritime security, military professionalisation including human rights, counterterrorism efforts against Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa, defense trade, and strengthening governance.
The United States on Friday donated a shipment of maritime security equipment worth One Hundred and Eighty Thousand Dollars to the Nigerian Navy, to upgrade the anti-piracy and nautical security functions of the country’s Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC).
The donation comprises a selection of best-in-class sensors and radars, communications and networking equipment, thermal-imaging cameras, and software, which have been integrated to improve the Nigerian Navy’ capacity to track and counter marine threats through its RMAC.
Handing over the consignment during a ceremony at the Nigerian Naval Station Beecroft, U.S. Consul General Claire Pierangelo highlighted the U.S. Government’s continued support of Nigeria’s maritime security.
“The United States is committed to supporting the Nigerian Navy in its efforts towards securing not only your territorial waters but the larger Gulf of Guinea. The equipment we have here today is part of the Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC) that began in 2006, aimed at enhancing the Nigerian Navy’s capacity to monitor and respond to the diverse maritime threats in your waters and the Gulf of Guinea.” Consul-General Pierangelo observed.
“We previously transferred two ex-U.S. Coast Guard Cutters to the Nigerian Navy, now known as NNS OKPABANA and NNS THUNDER, which are proving to be key elements of your anti-piracy and maritime security efforts,” she added.
Rear Admiral Tanko Yakubu Pani, Chief Staff Officer, Western Naval Command, Lagos, who received the surveillance equipment on behalf of the Nigerian Navy, commented on the long-standing security cooperation between the United States and Nigeria and outlined its impact on the Navy’s maritime defense capabilities.
“It is pertinent to state that the introduction of the Regional Maritime Awareness Capability facilities in the Nigerian Navy has greatly enhanced our maritime policing efforts through intelligence-gathering patrols. We are indeed delighted and grateful for the continuous support of the United States”, he stated.
The Regional Maritime Awareness Capability (RMAC) was developed in 2006 to upgrade the maritime domain awareness capability of US partners. In West Africa, it is present in Sao Tome/Principe, Nigeria, Gabon, Togo, Benin, Cote D’Ivoire, and Sierra Leone.
Nigeria’s RMAC became fully operational in 2008. It has 5 radar sites located in Badagry, Lagos, Formoso, Bonny, and Ibaka, alongside operations posts at the three regional HQs in Lagos, Yenagoa, Calabar, and Abuja. The Nigerian RMAC Training Centre, Apapa, was also equipped by the United States Navy in 2019.
The Western Naval Command has flagged off Exercise CALM WATER II in order to intensify its fight against all forms of criminality in its Area of Responsibility spanning from Lagos up to 200 nautical miles of Nigeria’s Exclusive Economic Zone.
This is in furtherance to carrying out statutory responsibility of protecting the Nation’s maritime key infrastructures.
While flagging off the Exercise onboard NNS UNITY, the Flag Officer Commanding (FOC) Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Oladele Daji, noted that the essence of the Exercise is in furtherance to the mission of the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ette Ibas, which is “to develop a naval force that is well trained, organized and highly motivated to discharge its constitutional roles professionally and efficiently for the defense of Nigeria in ensuring her economic prosperity.”
He noted that EXERCISE CALM WATER II is the continuation of series of similar ongoing Exercises in Western Naval Command Area of Responsibilities and across the Operational Commands of the Nigerian Navy.
He remarked that the exercise will enhance its human capacity development hence the need for the participating ships to carry out series of exercises and maneuvers in the cause of the Exercise.
Some of the evolutions to be conducted include, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS- Opposed Boarding), Fleet Maneuvers, Communication Drills, Medical Evacuation (MEDEVA), Lowering and Recovery of Boat among others.
He further mentioned that the Command had earlier engaged in series of exercises and operations like OPERATION JUNCTION RAIN, EXERCISE SWIFT RESPONSE, EXERCISE ATEGUN ALAFIA, EXERCISE OKUN ALAFIA I, TREASURE GUARD II among others. These Operations according to him have resulted in several arrests and subsequent handover of suspects/platforms used in committing illegalities to relevant law enforcement agencies for prosecution.
The FOC used the opportunity to reassure members of the public of the readiness of the Command to always provide necessary conducive environment for legitimate businesses in the waterways.
He therefore admonished members of the public to feel free to divulge credible information to units in their localities in order get rid of criminals in their localities.
A total of 8 ships, 2 helicopters and a detachment of NN Special Boat Service (SBS) are participating in the Exercise.
The ships include: NNS PROSPERITY, NNS EKUN, NNS NGURU, NNS EKULU, NNS OSUN, NNS OSE, TUG RIMA and TUG CDR UGWU as well as 2 NN helicopters and a detachment of NN SBS.
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 Central Naval Command has promised to help ensure that the general elections are peaceful and devoid of violence and ballot snatching.
Rear Admiral Saidu Garba, the Flag Officer Commanding, said this on Thursday during a visit to Governor Seriake Dickson at the Government House in Yenagoa.
He assured the governor that the Navy would play its part in ensuring law and order during the polls and sanction any erring personal accordingly.
“The Nigerian Navy has a mandate to ensure that there is peace in the country. At this particular time when we are going to have elections, we have been mandated to ensure that the elections go very free and fair,” Rear Admiral Garba said.
He added that, working with other security agencies, “the Nigerian Navy will ensure that the safe passage of election materials, sensitive materials, as well as INEC officials is guaranteed”.
Specifically, the Navy will provide boat escorts for the INEC staff and electoral materials, provide securities in parts of the creeks where elections are being conducted and escort the officials on the return journey.
Governor Dickson thanked the Navy for playing its role effectively in previous elections in the state.
“From my experience, I have been governor here for seven years, the Navy and its officers have always acquitted themselves creditably; and I have been through very tough elections where all kinds of people do all kinds of things,” the Governor said.
“I must say that our government is very impressed with the level of professionalism and honour displayed by Naval officers, who at different times have had to play different roles.”
The Central Naval Command (CNC) is one of the operations commands of the Nigerian Navy and its headquarters is in Yenagoa.
Nigerian Navy has intercepted a ship smuggling a large haul of contraband rice into Nigeria from Cameroon.
The vessel carrying 2,860 bags of foreign rice was intercepted over the weekend by Naval personnel on board the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) victory along the Calabar waterway in Cross River State.
The Acting Commander of the NNS victory ship, Captain Babafemi Ajayi, while parading the five suspects alongside their seized boat in Calabar, the state capital said the arrests were made following an intelligence report.
“We discovered that the boat was hidden around Calabar channels with this consignments with the intention that when there is darkness, they will use smaller boats to evacuate the products into a warehouse.
“Following the tip-off, we positioned our men into that area. Fortunately, we saw the five men when they wanted to carry out the assignment on the boat. They were subsequently arrested. Further entry revealed their warehouse. When we got there, we saw more consignments, those that have already been offloaded.”
Captain Ajaji noted that in compliance with the extant rules, the bags of rice and the suspects will be handed over to the Nigeria Customs Service for further investigation and prosecution.
The Nigerian Navy Forward Operating Base (FOB) in Bonny, Rivers State on Friday arrested a ship for suspected illegal oil trade.
The ship had on board 16 foreigners who are Ukrainians. They were caught while operating on a vessel in Nigerian waters.
Commanding Officer, FOB Bonny, Captain Suleiman Olorundare, told Channels Television that the foreigners activities violated the law of cabotage and handed them over to security operatives for further investigations.
They were caught while carrying drums suspected to be automated gas oil, without relevant documentation.
“The ship was arrested in our Maritime environment. She was engaged in illegal trading activities that contravene our national law, especially the Cabotage law,” Olorundare said.
The 16 suspects were thereafter handed over to the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for further investigations and possible prosecution.
Meanwhile, the oil-rich Niger Delta region has continued to record increased criminal activities. An attack was carried out in Bayelsa State on Friday by suspected pirates. The attack occurred barely 24-hours after gunmen suspected to be pirates attacked a commercial boat en route Yenagoa, the state capital.
Two passengers including a pregnant woman were shot in the Thursday attack when the pirates attacked the boat travelling from Koluama to Yenagoa.
The Friday attack saw the suspected pirates attack a commercial boat at Okobotuo area, along Akassa-Yenagoa waterways.
The Commissioner of Police in the State, Don Awunah, who spoke with Channels Television blamed the attacks on increased insecurity on the waterway and the riverine topography of Bayelsa State.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has commenced the investigation of 10 suspected oil thieves handed over to it on Thursday 1 February 2018 by the Nigerian Navy.
The EFCC’s Head on Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement on Friday, said the suspects were handed over to the EFCC alongside a vessel: MT Breakthrough by the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder Naval Base in Rumuolumeni, Port Harcourt, Rivers State for further investigation and prosecution.
According to the NNS Pathfinder’s Commander, Navy Captain Victor Choji, the suspects were arrested by the NNS Pathfinder’s patrol team deployed for anti-crude oil theft and illegal bunkering operations around Dawes Island, Port Harcourt.
The vessel, laden with an estimated 4,757 metric tons of products suspected to be crude oil, while under surveillance, was discovered to have switched off its Automatic Identification System (AIS) to evade surveillance in order to carry out an economic crime with the products onboard.
The suspects include Kolawole A Ezekiel; Olisa Basil Chukwutem; Friday Utibe; Emi Azubike; Oriyomi Olatunji; Ushiagwu Simon; Salihu Oricha Jimoh; Onche John, Onovuakpo John and Ubong Brendan, would soon be charged to court when investigations are concluded.
The phase two of Operation Octopus Grip which was recently flagged off by the Nigerian Navy in Warri, Delta State has uncovered some illegal oil operations in the region.
Rear Admiral Abubakar Bello Alhassan, the flag officer commanding Central Naval Command says the Navy is ever ready to combat criminals hell-bent on jeopardizing the nations economic interest in the oil-rich region.
The operation, on Thursday, discovered about 30 hectares of land used for illegal refineries at the Bennet Island in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The operation which was carried out using eleven gunboats, naval surveillance helicopters, and a special naval squad is aimed at consolidating on the successes of the “Operation Rivers Sweep” which was launched by the command in January 2017.
Alhassan said the illegal refinery camp is believed to have been re-established two weeks after it was destroyed. Various items like drums, pipes, polluted environment, storage facilities were discovered at the camp.
Commander NNS Delta, Commodore Ibrahim Dewu said the illegal refiners stole the camp from an abandoned wellhead and the illegal camp has an interconnection of pipelines from all oil companies passing through Bennet Island.
FOC Central Naval Command, Rear Admiral Abubakar Bello Alhassan speaking concerning the illegal operation at the Bennet Island said some arrests have been made and the suspects handed over to the EFCC.
“We have made some arrests and we have handed over to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission,” he said.
Exercise Octopus Grip was flagged off in November 2017 with a sea exercise in the first phase.