By: Anayo Onukwugha
The Nigerian Navy has warned oil thieves, pipeline vandals and sea pirates to stay clear of creeks and waterways of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria in general.
The Flag Officer Commanding Eastern Naval Command, Rear Adm. Joe Aikhomu, gave the warning on Wednesday,¬† while inspecting facilities at the Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder in Port Harcourt as part of operational tour of Navy formations in its Eastern Command.
Aikhomu said that the Navy has re-doubled its efforts in tackling illegal oil bunkering activities and sea piracy through a 24 hours daily patrol of creeks and the nation‚Äôs territorial waters.
He said that despite operational challenges facing its Officers and Ratings; the Navy was proficient in the fight against oil theft, saying that the Navy was more committed to ensuring the nation‚Äôs economic growth and prosperity.
Aikhomu said; ‚ÄúOil bunkering activities perpetrated by criminal elements poses serious challenge to the economy of the nation, and which the Navy is seriously tackling. In our bid to ensure the nation‚Äôs economic growth; the Navy, among other strategies put in place; patrols the creeks 24 hours daily of which we have recorded numerous successes.
‚ÄúSo far, we have destroyed several illegal oil refineries, arrested several oil thieves and pipeline vandals; and will not stop until we rid our maritime domain of criminality and illegalities. The Navy does not take lightly any sabotage on the nation‚Äôs economy, and so, we will continue to fish out these criminals, arrest and make them face the Law.‚Äù