As part of efforts to assess the professionalism and preparedness of the Nigerian Navy to adequately protect the nation’s waterways, the Chief Of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, is in Yenagoa for an inspection exercise.
During his visit to the Central Naval Command, he is expected to assess the quality of equipment belonging to the force and evaluate the professionalism of the officers.
The navy chief, who commissioned the gymnastics and relaxation centre of the Naval central command in Yenagoa and inspected other projects, was also hosted by the Deputy Governor of the State, Rear Admiral John Jonah, at the government house.
While receiving Mr Ibas at the Government House, Yenagoa, Mr Jonah called for increased collaboration and support for the Nigerian Navy, to enable the agency effectively police the Niger Delta region and the Nation’s territorial waters.
He noted that, the call is imperative in view of the increasing level of sophistication, with which the criminal elements carry out their nefarious activities in the maritime environment of the country.
The deputy governor, who described the Nigerian Navy as the only national establishment that has the responsibility, resources and training to keep the maritime space safe, urged all stakeholders to give legitimate support to the agency’s fight against crude oil theft, piracy and other crimes in the waterways.
He also expressed full appreciation to the Nigerian Navy for immortalizing Late Rear Admiral Nelson Bossman Soroh, by naming one of its formations, NNS Soroh, after him.
Mr Jonah said the gesture would go a long way in motivating serving naval personnel, to give their best in serving the nation.
“Let me also use this opportunity to publicly commend the Nigerian Navy for its efforts to immortalise one of our heroes, Rear Admiral Nelson Bossman Soroh, who gave his best, in serving our country.
“I thank you all for recognizing his contributions by naming a base, NNS Soroh.
He then called on the Navy to increase its presence in the state, by deploying more mobile stations and machinery to enhance its operations in Bayelsa, which he described as the most riverine state in the entire country.
He believes that Bayelsa State needs more of those mobile stations than other areas, because according to him, it is more riverine than any other state.
Referring to the state as the “centre of gravity”, he appealed for special attention.
“I know it is not easy to have those mobile platforms. But, let’s make sure that, we continue to mount pressure on the management of the system.
The Chief of Naval Staff, told journalists that his visit to the state was in continuation of an ongoing nationwide inspection tour of naval base, equipment and establishments.
He also expressed gratitude to the state government for the donation of a 100-hectare land and gunboats to the Nigerian Navy.
Vice Admiral Ibas promised to make good use of the donations and assured that the Navy would be more proactive in its approach to curbing criminality in the nation’s maritime environment.
He said, “I want to thank you for the support you have provided the Nigerian Navy, since our arrival here both in terms of logistics and welfare support to our bases.
“You are aware, that we have extended our bases and units to create mobile stations, which enables us to be closer to the people and fully cover the flash-points that we have identified.
“We are also in the process of creating additional choke points.”
He expressed hopes that once those areas are well manned and policed, “we will be able to reduce criminality,”.