BY ODITA SUNDAY
HARD times await sea pirates on the Nigerian waters with the acquisition of three OCEA patrol boats and two SHALDAG attack speed vessels by the Nigerian Navy.
The Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Dele Ezeoba, at the launch, warned pirates operating within the country‚Äôs waterways to steer clear as his men would deal decisively with them.
With the acquisition of the boat, Ezeoba might have started fulfilling his promises of ridding Nigerian waters of all sorts of criminality, when he assumed office last year.
The Navy, before now, had suffered lack of platform (ships) for effectively patrolling the waters. .¬† The five new boats, according to the Minister of State for Defence, Dr. Olushola Obada, ‚Äúis to complement the effort of the Navy in curbing all forms of crimes in Nigeria‚Äôs maritime domain.
‚ÄúThe war ships, two SHALDAG and three OCEA patrol craft, which were commissioned by Obada and his¬† Finance counterpart, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, were procured from Israel and France respectively.
The launch, which took place at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft, Naval Base, Apapa, Lagos was attended by all the service chiefs and Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Abubakar among others.
Obada charged the top hierarchy of the Navy, officers and Ratings to ensure judicious use of the platforms, with a view to reducing sea crimes in the country‚Äôs maritime domain.
Ezeoba said that the proactive operational imperatives of the platforms would engender gross reductions in acts of illegalities, particularly oil theft in the nation‚Äôs maritime environment.
‚ÄúThis strategic guidance further asserted that the main thrust of my watch would be the emplacement of robust and combat ready fleet, which I consider fundamental to the achievement of the Navy‚Äôs mission, which is ‚Äòto discharge its constitutional roles and assigned task in a professional and efficient manner, consistent with global best practices for the defence and protection of Nigeria‚Äôs territorial integrity‚Äô. It is in this context that the acquisition and subsequent efficient deployment of these boats is an expression of navy‚Äôs commitment to the attainment of its operational objectives,‚Äù he said.
Ezeoba disclosed that the contribution of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Sa‚Äôad Ibrahim, saw to the successful procurement of the boats from Israel and France respectively.