By PHILIP NWOSU
The Nigerian Navy at the weekend, said it was winning the war against pirates operating within the country‚Äôs territorial waters.
The Flag Officer Commanding Western Naval Command, Rear Admiral Ilesanmi Alade, who made the assertion, said that the waters within the command‚Äôs area of operations and even beyond, had become calm for legitimate maritime business to thrive.
He said that between January and now, over 38 ship caught committing illegalities within the country‚Äôs territorial waters were arrested, especially with the declaration of the naval headquarters under the leadership of Vice Admiral Usman Jibrin, that it would not tolerate illegalities within Nigeria‚Äôs territorial waters.
Admiral Alade, who spoke during a thanksgiving service to mark the 58th anniversary of the force at the St Andrew‚Äôs Anglican Church in Navy Town, Ojo, urged those plotting illegalities at sea to desist as the Nigerian Navy would not spare them.
Earlier, in his goodwill message, the Chief of Naval Staff stressed that as the Navy strives towards achieving the transformation agenda of this administration, security was key to its overall attainment.
He said that the Nigerian Navy‚Äôs transformation plan was anchored on the vision to emplace a force that was adequately motivated and capable of effectively combating the security challenges in Nigeria‚Äôs maritime domain.
Admiral Jibrin, who was represented by Rear Admiral Alade, said the top hierarchy of the force was aware of the constraints to its operations and the myriad of welfare problems facing naval personnel, adding that improved welfare would remain the cornerstone of his regime.
He said: ‚Äú I will do all in my powers with available resources at my disposal to improve your welfare, notably in the areas of new barracks accommodation, quality training and provision of uniforms, amongst others.
‚ÄúWhile we strive to address the welfare problems, I urge you to continue collectively and individually conduct yourselves and discharge your duties with the highest sense of integrity, teamwork and professionalism.‚Äù
I sincerely appreciate your immense support and look forward to working more closely with you to achieve our shared aspirations for improved security not only in our maritime environment but in other areas in the overall national interest.‚Äù
Earlier, the officiating priest, Rev Babatunde Ajayi harped on the need to¬† curtail the activities of the dreaded Boko Haram insurgents and that the Almighty God can deliver this nation from the hands of extremists.
He said that God cannot do this if Nigerians do not come together to fight the menace of Boko Haram, adding that where there is a threat, there is a solution from the threat.
Quoting from the book of Esther 4 verse 1-4, Rev Ajayi said if only Nigerians can represent from their sins, then the Almighty God will deliver Nigeria from the threats of insurgents.
He criticized God fatherism and cultism within the Armed Forces, urging Nigerians to go to God in time of troubles as god fatherism will not help anybody.
The first and second lesson were taken by Rear Admiral Alade and Rear Admiral Goddy Anyamkpele respectively.